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July 23, 2010
CTAWU General Secretary sent on immediate leave

General Secretary of the Commercial Technical and Allied Workers’ Union (CTAWU), Lloyd Small, has been sent on leave with immediate effect.{{more}}

The decision was taken at a special Congress of the Union held on Wednesday at the Union’s headquarters at Lower Middle Street.

Small, who has been General Secretary of the Union since 1986, but employed full time with the organization as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from May 2005, told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Wednesday afternoon that he is being made the scapegoat for the “unscrupulous activities” of some members of the Union.

The CTAWU is the largest trade union in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Small said that many items were purchased or loans given to some members without his knowledge.

“I signed blank cheques and went away when I travelled on Union business. A lot of things were written up behind my back when I went overseas,” Small said.

“I will take the blame, but I am not responsible for the actions of other members. I took people into my confidence. I can’t be responsible for that….

“I should have been checking as CEO, but I think all of us were elected as guardians of the Union’s funds,” Small said passionately.

Small, who said he has reached the end of the line as regards the CTAWU, said he intends to either go into consultancy or start his own union.

“I am going to call it George. I cannot work with that Executive.

They tried their best to undermine me since 2009 when I raised certain concerns.”

The General Secretary said his concerns were related to the fact that Consultant and advisor to the Union, Joseph Burns Bonadie, was also an advisor to the government on labour matters.

However, President of the Union Cheryl Bacchus said the decision to send Small on leave was a decision taken by the Congress, not the Executive.

Bacchus, who was elected president on February 17, 2010, explained that the Congress is made up of the Executive and the persons from various bargaining units who are financial members of the Union. “They have the right to vote and the right to make decisions. The Congress is given the highest authority to make decisions. The Executive is guided, based on the constitution, by the Congress to make certain decisions.”

She said the decision to send Small on leave was taken “because of certain issues with the administrative structure; issues that would have come out from the accounts that were presented by the auditors.”

The accounts for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 were presented to the Congress.

Bacchus declined to comment on Small’s statements, except to say “The decisions taken today were purely legal. We were guided by the Constitution. The General Secretary has been acting as CEO of that organization since 2005. The audited reports which were presented today are from that period; reports were not presented since 2001, so you can imagine the length of time since the finances were put before the body, so they can know what is the situation.”

Bacchus said the decision taken was not “a personal attempt to discredit anyone,” and advised Small to be “guided by the Constitution.” She also said he should bear in mind that as CEO and General Secretary, “he has a responsibility where management is concerned.”

Three vacancies which had existed on the Union’s Executive were filled at Wednesday’s meeting. Former 2nd Vice President Natasha Medford, who had been acting Treasurer was confirmed in that position, while Fitzroy Burgess was elected 2nd Vice President and Danny-Lee Hinds-Francis, Committee Member.