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Top GTU officials accused of contempt of court

GTU President Colin Bynoe (left) and General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald.

President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Colin Bynoe and his General Secretary Coretta Mc Donald will Monday have to answer an alleged contempt of High Court action brought by an aggrieved union member.

Milne Seymour wants the High Court to cite Bynoe and Mc Donald for contempt of court because they have allegedly ignored court orders related to the teacher’s holding of union offices for two years. Seymour has said that the union has suspended him from holding office for two years because his previous legal action had brought the union into disrepute.

The former Presidential and 2nd Vice Presidential candidate had also challenged the validity of the results of the April 2012 union elections. He had filed an injunction against the executive from exercising powers and functions, but the High Court subsequently discharged them.

High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds has since issued conditional orders in favour of Seymour until the union shows cause why its decisions should not be quashed.

Now Seymour wants Bynoe and Mc Donald to be now “committed to prison for their contumelious contempt of court by deliberately subverting the order” of Justice Reynolds made on October 8, 2012.

In court papers filed, Attorney-at-Law Dennis Jawan Paul says that despite the service of the orders, the GTU, acting through its officers including Bynoe and Mc Donald, are preventing Seymour from functioning in the capacity in which he was elected in the union- Chairman of the Plaisance Branch of the union, including preventing him from attending General Council meetings of the GTU.

“In the circumstances, the said Colin Bynoe and Coretta Mc Donald have deliberately and contumaciously breached the said Order or Rule Nisi of Certiorari and Order or Rule Nisi of Prohibition and are frustrating the purpose of the Order.”

In an affidavit, Seymour said that in and around December 18,2012 he was prevented from attending a General Council meeting as Branch Chairman and Council Representative. He recalled being informed by members of the GTU, including its first Vice President Malcolm Marcus that Bynoe had instructed that he would not be allowed to attend that meeting.

“I have been prevented from acting in my elected capacity. For instance, I have been prevented from functioning on the union’s General Council which I am bound to under the union’s constitution as the General Council representative of a branch of the union, I have not been invited to attend any meeting and am being prevented from attending meetings for which I have a duty to attend under the union’s constitution. Additionally, all correspondence that were sent to me prior to my suspension concerning the activities of the union have ceased being sent to me,” said Seymour.

Te decision to suspend Seymour was taken by the GTU’s General Council on July 24,2012. He, however, says that he does not fall within the categories of persons over whom the General Council can take disciplinary action. He further says that he was not informed about any charge, complaint or disciplinary proceedings before that council meeting in order to allow him to defend himself.