Luta drops TUCO injunction, still challenging presidency

File photo
File photo

CALYPSONIAN Morel Peters, also called King Luta, has withdrawn his application for an injunction to compel the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) to hold a by-election for the post of president.

At a hearing on Monday, Peters’s attorney agreed to withdraw the application when the parties appeared before Justice Kevin Ramcharan.

The veteran calypsonian’s substantive claim, in which he is challenging the elevation of Ainsley King as president, will come up for hearing on March 2.

In December, Peters sought to force the calypso body to hold a by-election, which he said should have been held on October 12 last year, after the previous president Lutalo “Brother Resistance,” died on July 13.

There is still no word from TUCO when elections will be held, and King remains president until then.

Peters’s lawsuit asks for a declaration that King’s elevation is illegal.

In his application, Peters said TUCO’s executive had stedfastly refused to hold a by-election in accordance with article 9(j) of the governing body’s constitution, under which if the presidency is vacant, the vice-president becomes interim president until a by-election is held within three months.

The 71-year-old calypsonian said King was elected interim president days after Masimba died. But, he said, at a subsequent meeting, a motion was moved to rescind King’s elevation as interim president and make him president.

This motion was seconded and approved by 14 members in favour. There were two abstentions. Another motion was then moved to appoint King as TUCO’s representative on the National Carnival Commission (NCC) board.

These decisions, Peters contends, are illegal since they are contrary to TUCO’s constitution.

He also said TUCO’s general secretary Shirlaine Hendrickson told him the general council had decded to postpone the by-election until further notice.

In October, Peter’s attorney sent TUCO a pre-action protocol letter calling on the executive to hold the by-election immediately and complaining about King’s being made president.

Taylor said Article 13(2) of the constitution says a president must be elected by secret ballot, and while the general council had the power to fill a vacancy when it arose, that was “a temporary or stop-gap measure to ensure continuity...upon the sudden or untimely death or resignation of a member.”

The attorney insisted it could not supersede Article 13 (2) on the election of a president to the substantive post.

“There are very good reasons for this since the president is also president of the administrative executive and (the) position is full time.”

At the time, King dismissed the allegations as sour grapes. He said he didn’t “assume the position,” but the issue was left in the hands of the general council, which had the power to do what it did when it moved to appoint him.

He said this was not a new occurrence, but had been done on at least three prior occasions and nobody questioned it.

Peters is represented by attorney Peter Taylor. TUCO is represented by attorneys Umesh Maharaj and Nerisa Bala.

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"Luta drops TUCO injunction, still challenging presidency"

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