A HIGH COURT judge has ruled in favour of an application by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), striking out a lawsuit over its failure to hold a by-election after the death of its former president.
The lawsuit was brought by veteran calypsonian Morel “King Luta” Peters after the death of Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba.
On Thursday, Justice Kevin Ramcharan ruled in favour of TUCO’s application to have the lawsuit struck out at the preliminary stage, while also dismissing Peters'application for relief from sanctions for failing to abide by the court’s directions.
TUCO’s attorneys Umesh Maharah and Nerisa Bala filed the application in April, arguing Peters failed to plead an essential element of his case related to his membership in the organisation.
Ramcharan had given the veteran calypsonian an opportunity to rectify the issue.
At the time, he also warned if Peters failed to meet the deadline to make the amendment, he would determine TUCO’s application to strike out the case.
In his lawsuit, Peters, a two-time Calypso Monarch, claimed the organisation’s general council breached its constitution when it voted for Ainsley King to be elevated to the post, after Masimba died on July 13 last year.
Peters’s lawsuit had asked for a declaration that King’s elevation was illegal.
He also said TUCO’s executive had steadfastly 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 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 and make him president.
This motion was seconded and approved by 14 members. There were two abstentions. Another motion was then moved to appoint King TUCO’s representative on the National Carnival Commission (NCC) board.
These decisions, Peters contended, were illegal, since they were 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 April, TUCO hosted a general membership meeting at which members discussed the finalisation of its amended constitution, the president’s address, a financial update and zonal elections.
Peters was represented by attorney Peter Taylor.