BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 5th February 2021)-Titled ‘Labour Law in the Commonwealth Caribbean: The Practice of Good Industrial Relations in the 21st Century’, President of the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago Her Honour Mrs. Deborah Thomas-Felix has successfully launched her publication relevant throughout the English-speaking Caribbean countries including St.Kitts-Nevis.

A virtual book launch was held on Saturday 30th January 2021, livestreamed on social media platform YouTube while being  hosted at the auditorium of the Elma Francois Institute for Research & Debate Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies located at Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Valsayn, Trinidad and Tobago.

In presenting author’s remarks, Thomas- Felix gave her definition of good industrial relations.

“…Good industrial relations is a demonstration of fairness and equity in the workplace. It requires the adherence to the principles of fairness, equity, equality of treatment and the rules of natural justice together with the use of international labour standards. It demands that workers work in safe conditions, that they receive decent wages and they are treated with dignity and respect at work. The advantage which an employer derives from a good working environment is a motivated task force with high productivity and less disruption of recruitment and retention of staff. Good industrial relations is not theoretical but rather it is founded in law, in our legal framework and in the practice of industrial relations.”

“You may remember that the principles of fairness, equity, equality and natural justice  are the very principles  upon which the foundation of our societies were built and they are indeed the principles  which have assisted in stabilizing our economies and our countries overtime,” she added.
In giving the feature address, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Adrian Saunders, praised Thomas- Felix’s expertise on the international stage in the field of industrial and labour law including being “rightly regarded as a global expert by the International Labour Organization.”

“Her Honour’s ready familiarity with these [international labour] standards, her general expertise on industrial law and  her involvement in the ILO at the highest levels render her imminently equipped to author a book on law in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Indeed, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was pleased to call on Her Honour’s [skillful] expertise just last year when the CACRICOM Administrative Tribunal was being stablished and this was a body that would receive appeals from staff members employed with CARICOM organs and institutions.”

Saunders has labelled the book as one which “I highly recommend.”
“It is a major accomplishment to author a Caribbean legal text and Her Honour richly deserves our congratulations and commendation on this accomplishment,” he pointed out.

The CCJ top official commended the work put in by Thomas-Felix in putting the content of the book together.

“I don’t know how many of you appreciate how difficult it is to author a legal text that is to have application throughout the Caribbean and of course throughout this address when I refer to the Caribbean, I refer to the English speaking Caribbean- the Commonwealth Caribbean. Of course the entire Caribbean as you know includes Spanish, French, Dutch, Creole-speaking peoples but we’re speaking now the English-speaking Caribbean, and it’s easy to assume for that part of the Caribbean, the English-speaking Caribbean,  since we were all colonies of Britain at one time and that Britain bequeaths to us  the common law  that if you are a legal expert in  a particular field as Judge Thomas Felix undoubtedly is in the field of law, you simply write a book on that subject area  and it can automatically be of  use and application throughout the Anglophone Caribbean”

Saunders continued: “The reality is that while it is true that much of the origins and what we call spine of the law, what we call the common law is pretty much similar throughout the region, as you begin to explore in detail any particular area of law you will find that there are considerable differences and nuisances that exist from country to country and if a text is truly Caribbean in scope, the author has to research and identify and grapple with these differences and explain and make sense of them.”
Information gleaned from  highlights that the “publication deals with subjects that are inherently germane to industrial relations and focuses on several subjects including ‘Management Prerogative’, ‘Fixed Term Contracts’, ‘Lay-off’, ‘Retrenchment’, ‘Dismissals’, ‘Reinstatement’ and ‘Labour-supply Contracts’ (also called, ‘Labour-only Contracts’).”

It is described to be one that brings under one “umbrella” for examination, subjects that are critical for dealing with policies affecting the world of work, national development as well as long-term recovery and transformation following crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also highlighted that in 2015, Thomas-Felix was appointed by the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)as a Member of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations – a Committee composed of twenty (20) of the world’s most eminent legal luminaries who are responsible for monitoring the application of international labour standards. As gathered, she became the first Trinidad and Tobago national to be appointed a Member of the Committee.

Furthermore, it is shared that she is an attorney at law who holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B), a Certificate of Legal Education (L.E.C.), a Masters of Laws degree (LLM) in International Legal Studies and an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) who is also certified in International Arbitration in Oil and Gas cases, Mediation and Conciliation.  

Those interested can visit find out more information about the newly-launched book and how to purchase a copy. Currently, an introductory price special is being offered until Monday 7th February.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The St.Kitts-Nevis Trades and Labour Union (owner of this newspaper) extends congratulations to Her Honour Deborah Thomas-Felix on the launch of her book.