High Court blocks GPSU from holding elections until books are audited

Last Updated on Friday, 21 April 2017, 18:37 by Denis Chabrol

GPSU Vice President, Mortimer Livan (centre) flanked by other union officials at a press conference held on Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The High Court has blocked the current executive of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) from holding elections until they account for monies received and spent by the union for more than 10 years.

The interim injunction restrains the respondents or their servants or agents “from holding or attempting to hold an election for office bearers for the Executive Council of the Guyana Public Service Union until the 3rd day of May, 2017 or sooner on the production by the respondents of the Auditor General’s report to the applicant and members of the Guyana Public Service Union and the audited treasurer’s report for the Guyana Public Service Union for the past 12 years to date.”

The order was granted by Justice Nareshwar Harnanan on April 20, 2017 , based on application that was made by Gregory Gaspar, in his capacity as Chairman of GPSU’s Branch 72. They are being represented by Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes.

GPSU President Patrick Yarde.

Those 19 executive members prohibited by the High Court from holding the polls include GPSU President, Patrick Yarde; 1st Vice President, Mortimer Livan; 2nd Vice President Dawn Gardener; 3rd Vice President, Carmelita Laully; Deputy General Secretary, Kempton Alexander; Principal Assistant Secretary, Samantha Fedee; Assistant Education Officer, Vera Naughton; Organising Secretary, Sonny Singh; Assistant Organising Secretary, Andrea Goles; Economic, Research and Project Officer, Charles Baker; Assistant Economic, Research and Project Officer, Trevor Daly and Assistant Treasurer, Thomas Nestor.

Gaspar is among a group of union members that have in recent weeks been clamouring for transparency, accountability and change in the way the union is being managed. Jermaine Hermanstyne, who is part of the group, hopes the High Court will agree with their application for an interim management committee to be established to bring the audit up to date and resuscitate the branches.

He said of the 65 branches, less than six are active.

Hermanstyne says Rule 13 of the GPSU’s rules state that the union shall be audited every year by the Auditor General’s Office and the auditor’s report shall be presented to the Biennial Delegates Conference. He said questions were raised since October 2103 when employees of the Guyana Bureau of Standards demanded audited statements in response to a request for union dues to be increased from GYD$1,200 to GYD$1,500.

Hermanstyne contends that under the leadership of President Patrick Yarde, the GPSU has failed to negotiate satisfactorily on behalf of public servants for the past 20 years.