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Wednesday 24 April 2019
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PSA election put off again

THE Public Service Association’s (PSA) executive election has been put off for a second time.

The tentative date of February 19 which was set by the union’s conference of delegates will have to be abandoned.

A new date is to be set in accordance with the PSA’s election rules once a new and sanitised voters’ list is prepared by March 4.

This was the date given by Justice Nadia Kangaloo yesterday when she voided the list that was intended to be used by the PSA’s election committee on November 27, when the election was to be held.

This date was vacated when one of the teams contesting the polls — the PSA Fixers, led by Solomon Gabriel — complained of irregularities in the list.

An injunction was granted, preventing the election being held then.

The tentative date of February 19 was set after a special conference of delegates last December.

In a ruling delivered at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, Kangaloo had some harsh words for the PSA executive, saying the list that was intended to be used could not be a complete list. She also said it was unacceptable that no conference of delegates was held in the two years before the one held in December, nor had audited finances been presented to the union’s membership.

As ordered by the judge, the new list is to be prepared to be verified by 4 pm on March 2, after which a new election date can be fixed in accordance with the union’s constitution.

She has ordered the PSA’s election committee and the union’s general secretary to pay a total of $82,500 towards the Fixers’ legal costs.

Speaking after the ruling, Gabriel said it was victory not only for his slate but all PSA members. “The union is in shambles,” he said, calling on incumbent president Watson Duke to resign.

Duke, however, was unperturbed by his colleagues’ and the court’s criticisms, and was confident of holding on to the presidency.

Gabriel had accused the executive of engaging in “strong-man behaviour” with members and of padding the voters’ list.

The Fixers said, on October 5 a special general council meeting was held and a motion was moved to allow members who had not paid their dues to do so. They were then placed on the list of electors, contrary to Rule 7 of the PSA constitution.

These members included those from the Airports Authority, for whom the PSA was recently given permission to represent.

The team said according to the rule, a person is not eligible to vote unless they have been a financial member for 12 months at the date of the election.

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