PSA quorum votes to oust Duke
...President dismisses bid as joke and prank
A Public Services Association (PSA) general council quorum has found president Watson Duke guilty on nine counts of constitutional violations and has voted unanimously to oust him from office.
Duke was invited to the meeting and though he was briefly on the compound at City Hall in Port of Spain, he did not attend the meeting.
The meeting was chaired by general council member Ricky Cedeno, who was elected to run the meeting in Duke's absence.
Though the group listed Duke's violations, the quorum included members who have already been suspended by Duke and brought the veracity of Duke's suspension into question.
Duke, who called a media conference at the union's Abercromby Street office in Port of Spain soon after that meeting, said he is still the sitting president of the PSA.
Duke said the group was not "true and legitimate" members of the general council and, as such, they did not have the right to remove him.
Duke said he would use "maximum legitimate force" to quell the internal friction within the PSA and stop the wrangling to remove him once and for all.
He dismissed the members' bid to remove him as a "as a prank and a joke".
"More than that, the PSA is looking at that as a serious assault," he said.
He said even if the members sought police presence to remove him, it would not be legal.
He said this latest move was an attempt to stall the upcoming job evaluations.
"There is a big plan afoot to stop the PSA job evaluation process," he said.
"If we were expelled, why aren't they occupying the building? Why are they creating mischief?" he asked.
He said there can be as many as 500 job losses in the near future and he was focusing on that. He called on the "dissident bunch" to do the same.
He said he the group was illegally posing as general council members.
"This is the last time we will be treating with this like this," he said.
The general council group announced that ousted first vice-president Rosanna Robinson would sit as acting president upon Duke's removal, which Duke dismissed. He said he had his own executive in place.
With regard to the current State of Emergency, Duke, unlike the rest of the trade union movement, said he fully supported the Government initiative. He said people were getting "too brave" and doing what they wanted without fear of reprisal.
"Now everybody quiet," he said.