GPSCCU election: Confusion erupts as new elected management blocked from convening meeting

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…former management writes Co-Op officer claiming electoral breaches

An attempt by the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (GPSCCU) to convene a meeting on Monday, quickly descended into chaos as one faction, led by former GPSCCU Chairman Karen VanSluytman-Corbin, disrupted the meeting over claims of electoral breaches.

In a video seen by this publication, Van Sluytman-Corbin and some of her colleagues from the former management committee could be heard banging on the table and chanting “You all ain’t had a quorum, no valid elections,” and “Get out, get out” against the newly elected management committee, which is led by former Chairman Trevor Benn.

When the elections were held on Saturday, resulting in Benn’s slate being elected, concerns had been raised about electoral breaches. Van Sluytman-Corbin herself had objected during the very vote. Those concerns have, however, gone unaddressed up to the time Monday’s meeting was called. It has prompted the former committee to seek the intervention of the Labour Ministry.

Alleged breaches

Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton explained in an interview with this publication, that the former management committee has since written a letter to the Labour Ministry, specifically the Chief Co-Op development officer, claiming that the newly voted-in management committee benefitted from breaches to the Co-Op laws by how the special meeting to hold the vote was convened.

“The (former) committee who was there, they have written the Chief Co-Op development officer based on several allegations they have made about breaches of the Co-Op laws in calling the meeting, specifically the Co-Op. So, the Chief Co-Op development officer is studying the letter.”

However, the alleged breaches do not stop there. According to Hamilton, the former Management Committee also alleged that there were breaches during the actual vote, as well as breaches in the systems set up to accommodate said votes.

“They’ve written, accusing the [one] faction of all of these breaches. The meeting was chaired by Mr [Patrick] Mentore, who used to be the Vice Chairperson. And they identified several breaches, so they’re asking the Chief Co-Op development officer to intervene and investigate. If the breaches that they identified did occur, then the meeting was not properly called. The last audit of the GPSU says they have 25,000 odd members.”

“The rules talk about what the quorum must be. In this case, the quorum must be 6000 and odd members present, online and in person. Everything I saw about the voting, the maximum number of persons engaged at any time was, I think 1900 persons. So, at no time did they reach the threshold of what the quorum must be,” Hamilton said.

Another issue the minister noted was raised in the letter, was the fact that polling stations were not set up in all the other regions, where membership was located, to cater for those without internet access.

“The last time they had their annual general meeting, they had poll booths and poll boxes in every region. Secondly, at that time they had the Co-Op department to supervise. So, we had placed at every place they had a polling booth, a representative, a Co-Op officer from the regions. This time there was no request,” Hamilton said.

“The Co-Op development officer, he has to look at the law and match it with the grievances and what they identified as breaches. So that he can be guided. And of course, he will engage our lawyers we have at the ministry. And I want to believe also, they will engage the Attorney General’s Chambers for guidance and direction.”

Hamilton was meanwhile optimistic that by Tuesday, they would be in receipt of further information from the Co-Op department on how they will proceed with the concerns raised by the former management committee.