The five candidates who challenged Public Services Association president Watson Duke in the union’s elections are joining forces to legally challenge the results of the polls.
Team Sentinel’s Nixon Callendar, Curtis Cuffie of Concerned Public Officers, Oral Saunders pf United Public Officers, Ian Murray of Labour Warriors and Gregory Cova of Premium Value Gregory Cova are raising concerns about the election process.
On Wednesday, the PSA’s elections committee declared Duke and his team, Game Changers, winners of the elections.
This is not the first time the union has been embroiled in legal controversy. The elections were postponed from November 23 to December 14 after concerns were raised about the voting list and irregularities in the election process.
The five candidates, who spoke with reporters out their attorney’s office in Port of Spain yesterday, claim there were breaches of the election laws and the constitution of the union.
“It is said that it took the defeat at the polls and all these atrocities to bring us together but the main thing is that we are together now and going forward we are going to deal with this situation,” Cuffie said.
“This election will be annulled and going forward we are going to deal with it because the PSA is not about me, it is not about Oral Saunders, it’s not about Nixon Callendar or Ian Murray—none of us. The PSA is about Trinidad and Tobago and it is the greatest and most powerful union in this country and we have to make sure that is not destroyed.”
They did not indicate when they would file their action against the elections but hinted that it will be very soon.
Murray, a former vice-president of the union, said: “The election was stolen. The reports that every single team and their agents got was that there was a whole myriad of irregularities occurring but on Sunday before the election both Concerned Public Officers and my team went to the court to stop the elections via an injunction to stop exactly what transpired on Monday.”
Another PSA presidential candidate, Nixon Callendar, described what transpired on Monday as “nothing short of a travesty.”
“The PSA has become a very destructive and disorderly organisation, one that breaches rules and regulations and this is the norm since 2013 and the PSA has lost all its credibility to carry on free and fair elections,” he said
Contacted for comment, Duke told Guardian Media: “These five, need to start acting like men and take their licks and cool it and stop acting like little children who want the game to play over because you did not get to score.
“Public officers rejected you all, you campaign on total stupidity, you campaign on Watson Duke and not on the membership.”
Duke said he and his team are already starting work on upcoming negotiations and organising the union’s sections and committee to better serve the membership.