Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Judge grants injunction stopping MPATT elections

 High Court Justice Nadia Kangaloo yesterday granted an injunction, stopping yesterday’s Medical Practitioners Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MPATT) elections until the matter is heard and determined by the courts.

Doctors Bisham Bhimull, Fidel Rampersad, Raj Kamal Reddy Avu­thu, Ryan Richardson and Shaun Lynch filed the injunction on Wed­nesday against MPATT after raising concerns about the election process.

Kangaloo ordered the elections be stopped, pending the determination of the issue of the nomination forms of the defendants being refused and pending the determination of the suspension of Bhimull and Lynch from MPATT.

The injunction is to continue until the hearing and determination of the order.

In a news release, MPATT stated its constitution states suspended members are not eligible to con­test any executive elections.

The release noted Justice Kangaloo granted the injunction, which challenges the legality of the elections on two points, namely:

1. A decision by MPATT to uphold a constitutional regulation of MPATT, which states  prospective candidates who sub­mit their names after the stated nomination deadline for the executive elections do not qualify to contest said elections  

2. A decision by MPATT to suspend the membership of two nominees from the “MPATT Reform­ers” slate, on the basis of a police report filed against them on April 10, 2014, by a female administra­tive assistant of MPATT, alleging threatening behaviour on their part. This mat­ter is currently under police investigation. 

MPATT stated its action to suspend was in accordance with its constitution, which states, “The fol­low-

ing shall constitute offences against the association: Conduct calculated or likely to bring the association into disrepute.   

“Any member found to have committed an offence under these rules shall be subject to the following: Suspension of membership...” the constitution states further.

MPATT stated its executive shall continue to function and execute the business of the union, in accordance with the provisions of the MPATT constitution and its founding, governing principles of fairness, accounta­bility and transparency in all its dealings and with dedication and commitment to all members and the public at large, whom it ultimately serves.

Meanwhile, the MPATT Reformers, which is led by the doctors who filed the injunction, also issued a release stating the fact that the High Court granted the injunction signals “there must be something inherently wrong with the process and procedures that MPATT employs to conduct its elections”.

The MPATT Reformers stated it filed the injunction, seeking redress for what they perceive to be unfair practices regarding their suspension and nomination.

“We do not deny the fact that the founding members and past executives of MPATT have done a great deal for the cause of doctors, and we are indeed grateful for this. However, when members are denied the rights enshrined in the constitution of MPATT, as in this current matter, and the rules of the constitution are used conveniently to the whims and fancy of the executive, not that of membership, the original mandate of MPATT as a union is compromised,” stated the release.

MPATT Reformers stated it wants free and fair elections and was willing to go the distance to achieve this.

“We however continue to wish that good sense will prevail and are amiable to meeting with the current executive to amicably resolve the issues,” stated MPATT Reformers.