PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) head Watson Duke on Thursday was accused of unjustly suspending six elected officials of his union who, in turn, are expected to take legal action against him. The revelation was made by general council member Alana Goodridge-George-Mejias in a telephone interview on Thursday.
Along with her, Duaine Hewitt, Curtis Cuffie, Demetrius Harrison, Annisha Persad, Curtis Meade were suspended by the council headed by Duke.
Goodridge-George-Mejias said the suspensions came after the group held a news conference and spoke about this month’s ruling by Justice Devindra Rampersad in their High Court case against Duke. She said the ruling dealt with the accountability of PSA funds and the validity of the general council.
“The judge gave time lines to have the finances audited from 2015 to present,” Goodridge-George-Mejias told Newsday.
She said the council had suspended the sextet by claiming they had brought the union into disrepute. However, she said they were not given any opportunity to respond to those claims, and so the council had acted outside of the rules of the union’s constitution.
Goodridge-George-Mejias claimed the suspension had breached a 2017 court injunction blocking Duke from suspending them.
“I told the council they were acting ultra vires their powers but they had instead opted to listen to Duke and ordered the union’s security guards to remove us from the building."
Newsday sought Duke's reaction. He referred us to his broadcast on Facebook. In this he said the members were suspended, pending an investigation, for holding a news conference outside the PSA building on Monday, without the president's authority.
“For a very long time we have cautioned the above-mentioned and tried to engage them to build an organisation that is people-centric and member-centric but these members opted instead to be vigilantes. They are keeping sideshows on the radio, on television, bringing the PSA into disrepute and trying to score cheap goals.”
He said the PSA has rules which the general council will uphold. Duke expected a hearing on the members to be completed within a month after which the general council would decide if they should continue as members.