Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
The Ministry of Labour, in a statement last Friday, said it is complying with Justice Navindra Singh’s ruling on July 25, 2023 on the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (GPSCCU). In that ruling Ms. Gillian Pollard and Ms. Ruth Howard and Ms. Karen Vanslyutman-Corbin were stripped of duties and responsibilities within the Credit Union after they failed to show up in a contempt of court matter. Pollard, Howard and Vanslyutman-Corbin held the position of Secretary, Board Member and Chairperson, respectively.
Whilst the ministry, in its statement, acknowledged the High Court order prohibited the three rom conducting business, and it further ordered that offices held by the three be executed by Mr. Trevor Benn, Mr. Patrick Mentore and Ms. Rajdai Jaggernauth until the hearing of the application on September 13, 2023, government apparently intervened with the aim of not complying with the order.
According to the ministry, “the court order did not specific[y] which office Mr. Benn, Mr. Mentore and Ms. Jaggernauth would hold. As a result, two [principal] positions, Chairman and Secretary, were to be filled, with the remaining position being that of a committee member. The position of the Chairman of the Committee was filled in accordance with Regulation 22 of the Co-operative Societies Act.”
The disregard for the ruling prompted clarification from the Court by Roysdale Forde S.C, who is representing applicants Ms. Mehalai McAlmont, Mr. Keith Marks and Ms. Natasha Durant-Clements in the matter against the GPSCCU. He said this was important not only to ensure clarity but also to highlight and unmask the shameless effort by officials of the ministry to subvert the rule of law.
Forde told Village Voice News, Justice Singh in his response, reiterated his ruling of July 25, that Mentore is by Order to function as Chairman, Benn to function as Secretary, and Jaggernauth as Treasurer, until the determination and hearing of the matter which is scheduled for September 13. “Now that Justice Singh has clarified, the PPP’s behaviour is exposed for all to see.
Asked to weigh in on the government’s misunderstanding of the ruling, Forde said it “deliberate and shows the government is determined by any means necessary, including perverting the order of the court, to take control of a non-government organisation and prevent the due regulatory process and operation to come into effect, which is, to hold a free and credible election to determine the will of the members of the Credit Union.”
Going further, the senior counsel said the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government continues to show it does not believe in a free and credible election process and is now taking this mindset to other organisations with the intent to undermine and bring them into disrepute.
He recalled the recent Local Government Elections (2023) and the General and Regional Elections (2020) where the PPP was caught “red handed” engaging in illegal acts to skew the elections outcome in their favour. The PPP, he said, cannot win in any credible and transparent process, and has to keep up the façade, that in spite of their poor stewardship of the society and contempt for all Guyanese, the party could be elected in a free, transparent and credible process.
According to the senior counsel no public relations stunt and unethical behaviour by the PPP could successfully undermine the Orders issued on July 25. “It is also important for society to know the unprincipled attitudes that threaten good governance and integrity of the judiciary in society,” he asserted.
Last year, McAlmont, Marks and Durant-Clements petitioned the court to declare members of the GPSCCU Committee of Management failed to comply with the principal orders made by Justice Singh on September 30, 2022 to have the election no later than October 24, 2022. The respondents in the matter are Pollard, Howard and Vanslyutman-Corbin.