Four months after retiring as a senior public officer, Reginald Lord is tipped to return to the service on contract as Acting Commissioner of Labour.
The move comes as the current holder of the position Valerie Thomas has stepped down in the face of an alleged deterioration in her relationship with staffers at the Ministry of Labour.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that the Public Service Commission (PSC) will most likely be approached to bring back the experienced Lord to take charge of the Department.
According to one government insider, the situation with Thomas has now forced the 8-month old Congress administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to turn to Lord who had to quit the service on reaching the mandatory age of retirement at 60.
He said the only option left for the government at the moment is to ask Lord who left on “a good note” to help out the situation since the regime is cognizant of the fact that the current Deputy Labour Commissioner “is young and new” and not ready to take on the top job.
“I think that is what is going to happen because the staff was very happy with him. The only thing that happened with Lord is that he turned 60 (age of retirement). Lord will be coming back in the next couple days,” he added.
The government insider also said that shortly after taking the decision to award the job of Labour Commissioner to Thomas who spent the last 10 years in neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago, it is rather unfortunate that the Congress administration soon realised that “this thing couldn’t work out” with her.
“She and none of the staff weren’t getting along except maybe one or two,” he remarked.
The insider admitted that the island’s first female Labour Commissioner was not performing on the job as expected by her employers based on the deteriorating state of relationship between her and several staffers.
He said the island’s Minister of Labour Senator Claudette Joseph who is also the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs “was very excited about her (Thomas) at the beginning but became “very, very disappointed” in the end and the government was forced to part ways with the Labour Commissioner in very short order.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the contract offered to Thomas who took up duties at the beginning of November “wasn’t signed yet.”
There are unconfirmed reports that “complaints after complaints” were made to the relevant authorities about the contentious relationship existing at the Ministry of Labour between Thomas and staffers which was affecting the work of the department.
THE NEW TODAY could not independently confirm reports that the PSC asked Thomas to quit on the grounds that she might have even disrespected the ministry’s Permanent Secretary and was “making the lives of workers miserable.”
She reportedly told workers in a heated exchange that “if they don’t want to work with her they can leave.”
“My friend in Labour told me a while ago that the Department held a retreat and she (Thomas) was presenting. She was saying certain things that the workers didn’t understand and so the PS told her to just go over the part of the presentation again for the benefit of the workers and to clarify those issues they didn’t understand.”
“She said she (Thomas) refused. She told the PS she’s not doing it, closed her laptop and went and took her seat.”
The outgoing Labour Commissioner is known to be close to the Congress party in the build up to the June 23, 2022 general election.
She is said to have campaigned in the St Andrew South-west constituency for the party’s candidate Lennox “Toes” Andrew who is now serving as Minister of Economic Development, Planning, Tourism, ICT, Creative Economy, Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries & Co-operatives.
Thomas is often seen in the St Andrew area in the company of the wife of the NDC’s General Secretary Learrie Barry.