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Top GTU officials must attend court

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

High Court Judge Nareshwar Harnanan on Monday ordered that two top officials of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) appear before him concerning two cases filed against them by an aggrieved union member.

Harnanan told Attorney-at-Law Keisha Chase that she must ensure that President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) Colin Bynoe and General Secretary, Coretta Mc Donald appear before him. The judge said he preferred to have the defendants in court should he need to ask them any questions.

After Monday’s hearing, Mc Donald was seen outside the courthouse and she said she was advised by her lawyer not to attend court.

The cases, including one for alleged contempt of court brought by Milne Seymour, will be heard on August 9.

The court also granted 14 days leave to lawyers for the GTU officers to file affidavits in response concerning the contempt of court case.

Lawyers for Seymour and the two GTU officers have to pay GUY$12,500 and GUY$7,500 in court costs because they did not file their submissions on time.

Seymour wants Bynoe and Mc Donald to be “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.

The 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.