PSU elections put off because of court action by ousted head
Front Page
November 5, 2013

PSU elections put off because of court action by ousted head

Some of the operations of the Public Service Union (PSU), including the general elections that were scheduled to take place today, have been put on hold because of legal action brought against the Union by its former president.{{more}}

Elroy Boucher, chairman of the PSU’s interim committee told a press conference yesterday that the general elections were postponed following an injunction filed against the committee by former president Cools Vanloo, who, along with his entire executive, was relieved of his post at a general meeting in September this year.

The injunction against the committee is one of two legal motions that Vanloo has filed since he was ousted from office.

Boucher, accompanied by interim committee members Aubrey Burgin and Elizabeth Williams, told the media that the interim committee decided to put a hold on the elections, even though they could have gone forward despite the injunction.

“We had some discussions with members of the Union from the different departments… and we had the discussions on what should we do as regards the injunction,” Boucher said.

“With advice from our lawyer, we concluded that we didn’t want to do anything to hurt the Union, and in as much as we have been mandated to act and conduct elections by the members of the Union, we do not think it is in the best interest of the PSU to have members vote under the cloud of legal uncertainty which has been brought about by Mr Vanloo’s claim.”

He added that at this point, he was not in a position to say when the elections would take place, but in the interest of everyone, he hopes it would be soon.

Vanloo filed the first injunction, to be heard on November 6, to prevent the interim committee from holding the elections that they had been mandated to conduct at the September 10 general meeting. The second injunction, to be heard on November 13, was filed against the Union for removing Vanloo as president, an act which Vanloo deems unconstitutional.

Boucher also mentioned that the current legal wrangling has partially frozen the Union’s accounts, and that members are unable to receive the full benefits of membership.

“They are unable to claim their medical relief, which is normally paid when members go to the doctor… they can claim a refund and there is a lot of that piling up, but they cannot be paid because the bank is taking precaution because the matter is in court….

“So, the members cannot receive the benefit which is due them because of this. Because of the actions of one individual, we have an entire membership suffering because of that, and it is unprecedented in the history of the Union.

“In fact, past executives have been removed by general membership; never in the history has this ever happened when a union is literally held at a ransom….”

The interim leader said that following the removal of the executive, five of the seven former executive members indicated to counsel for Vanloo (Caribbean International Law Firm), that they had accepted the action of the membership.

“They have recognized the authority of the general membership in removing the executive and they have accepted that…. In reality, if you look at it in a practical sense, even if things were to be reversed, there would not be an executive in place, because five executive members have submitted to the wishes of the general membership.”

Boucher estimated that the Public Service Union, which was established in 1943, has a membership of just over 1,300. The Union is being represented by lawyer Joseph Delves.(JJ)