The Public Service Association (PSA) elections have been postponed to at least December 14.
The PSA’s current elections committee agreed to defer the long-overdue poll, carded for next Monday (November 23), after appearing before Justice Nadia Kangaloo, who granted an injunction blocking the election almost three years ago.
During the discussions, the committee also agreed to disclose a final sanitized voters’ list, as ordered by Justice Kangaloo in her judgement in the case in 2018, by next Tuesday.
Provided that the parties agree that the list passes the criteria previously defined by Kangaloo, the elections would go ahead in mid-December.
If there is no agreement, the election may be postponed once again.
In the lawsuit, Solomon Gabriel and his Team Fixers slate were claiming that an injunction they obtained stopping the election in November 2017 still stands as the union’s General Council and elections committee never met the requirements for its discharge.
In the substantive case, the group contended that the list of voters was fundamentally flawed due to a decision taken by the union’s General Council to allow PSA members with union dues arrears to be allowed to vote if they cleared their arrears.
At the time the initial lawsuit was brought and an injunction granted by Kangaloo almost 300 of the union’s 14,000 members, reportedly made use of the allowance.
In February 2018, Kangaloo ordered the committee to sanitise the list and set a new date for elections after she found multiple irregularities on it.
Last year, the team brought contempt proceedings in which they claimed that the committee breached Kangaloo’s order by deciding to scrap their original list and by stating that the election should be held in November, this year.
The decision effectively gave controversial incumbent PSA president Watson Duke almost a full third term in office without being elected by the union’s membership.
Gabriel’s group also filed separate proceedings in which his slate has challenged the actions of the union’s General Council, which disbanded the elections committee after it decided on postponing the elections. The council is chaired by Duke.
Presenting submissions yesterday, Gabriel’s lawyers Lemuel Murphy and Stacy Mc Sween pointed out that the list published by the new committee, last week, contained almost four times the discrepancies than in the previous list, which was the subject of the lawsuit.
The discrepancies include the duplication of members including one case in which one member appeared to be registered in eight different Government ministries.
The list also did not include members’ registration numbers, information on whether they were in good financial standing and the dates they officially joined the union.
Contacted yesterday, Gabriel said that he was pleased that the proper procedure was being followed although he does not have a stake in the contest.
Gabriel noted that he and his team chose not to enter the race as they felt it would constitute aiding and abetting contempt of court.
“Six slates are running in the election. That is madness. So many people want to be PSA President?” Gabriel said.
The parties are expected to appear before Kangaloo, next Thursday.