Judge halts PSA elections again

The Public Service Association (PSA)’s leadership election has been postponed for the second time in less than three months.

The postponement of the election, which was carded for February 19, came yesterday as High Court Judge Nadia Kangaloo ruled that there were irregularities in the voter’s list compiled by the association’s elections committee in October, last year.

Kangaloo ruled that the committee would be unable to rectify the errors on the list and publish it before the proposed election date.

“The publication of a list prior to an election on February 19, with the myriad of issues would be impossible,” Kangaloo said.

As part of her decision, Kangaloo ordered the committee to correct the list before March 2, and report back to her four days later. A new date for the election can be set once the new list is approved.

In their lawsuit, one of the slates challenging the elections, Team Fixers, contended that the list of voters was fundamentally flawed owing to a decision taken by the union’s general council on October 5, to allow PSA members with union dues arrears to be allowed to vote if they cleared their arrears before the election.

Almost 300 members reportedly made use of the allowance. The PSA has approximately 14,000 members.

The elections were initially scheduled for November 27 but were postponed after the slate was granted an injunction pending the determination of the lawsuit.

She also ordered that the union’s election committee pay the applicant’s legal costs amounting to $82,500.

In an interview after the judgment, head of Team Fixers, Solomon Gabriel said the outcome vindicated his team’s decision to mount a legal challenge.

“It is a victory not only for the PSA Fixers but for all PSA members. Our union is in shambles. I always keep saying we don’t have a union,” Gabriel said as he called on incumbent president Watson Duke to immediately resign.

The slate was represented by Raisa Caesar and Reshma Ramsingh, while John Heath and Lionel Luckhoo represented the PSA.

Responding to the ruling, Duke said he was also pleased.

“The ruling was fair and balanced. The judge did what she had to do and I am satisfied with it.,” Duke said.

Questioned over Kangaloo’s criticism over meetings of the conference of delegates and the failure to provide audited financial records, Duke said her comments were “minor points” in the case.

Duke, who is seeking a third four-year term in the elections, also rejected calls for his resignation.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Derek Achong)

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