Dominican Attorney Cara Shillingford-Marsh continues to make waves in the legal fraternity after she secured a win for the claimants in St Vincent and the Grenadines who challenged the government in relation to its Covid-19 policy.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ralph Gonzalves government fired hundreds of public sector workers over their failure to take a COVID-19 vaccine, as mandated by Cabinet.
Shillingford-Marsh was the lead attorney in the case and in handing down the decision earlier today, High Court Justice Esco Henry said the legislation by the government was unconstitutional
In the judgment, Justice Henry also ruled that letters issued to the claimants, including letters issued by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, violated the Constitution.
The judge also said that none of the claimants ceased to hold the public offices to which they had been appointed and held at the relevant times, and they remain entitled to all their full pay and benefits due and payable to them, including pensions.
“The crown is liable to the claimants for any damages, including interest of 6 percent per annum,” the judge ruled.
All frontline staff in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were obliged to receive accessible COVID-19 immunization under the Public Health Modification Act of 2021.
The verdict of the judge was made one day before the island’s National Heroes Day commemoration. n.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph in an immediate response said lawyers for the government are quite satisfied that it is likely that this judgment will be overturned in the Court of Appeal.
“We have given instructions to them to appeal… in fact, they orally indicated that they would appeal. The government is satisfied that our actions were lawful, we were so advised, and this matter is too important for us to just rely on the judgment of one judge in the first instance… let’s hear what the Court of Appeal thinks”
“I have been advised by Senior Counsel in this matter and I have accepted that advise, that there is a likelihood this decision will be overturned at the Court of Appeal and I am satisfied from the standpoint of our actions, we saved lives and livelihoods.”
He states that is the position of the government. Dominican attorney Anthony Astaphan represented the government
Hope the decision is upheld by the appeal court