As some members of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) push ahead with plans to unseat incumbent Union President, Patrick Yarde, they are concerned that Mr. Yarde and his supporters may be doing any and everything possible to hold on to power.
Now the Court has stepped in and put a hold on the elections after the group against Yarde’s presidency filed and was granted an injunction. Attorney Nigel Hughes is representing the interests of the group.
During a press conference on Thursday, the group said Mr. Yarde and his supporters have responded to their challenge with “personal threats, intimidation and attempts at character assassination”.
The injunction putting a hold on the elections could be served before the end of today.
Among the grievances of the group is that there has been no audit of the GPSU for over a decade, no succession plan for young members, a decline in membership, little or no successful negotiations and the re-election of a President for over 30 years.
The group believes that the elections in recent years have not been free and fair and pointed to the fact that the elections officers are closely associated with the candidates and that the elections are held at the Secretariat where the candidates are permanently housed.
GPSU member, Jermaine Hermanstyne said the current desperation within the hierarchy of the GPSU at present was of grave concern.
“Mr. Yarde has sought everything he can to intimidate us and we are now in a position where we are fearful. This is a downing man trying to clutch at straws and we don’t know in his desperation what else he may come with,” Hermanstyne told reporters.
He claimed that documents of an old Court case which was dismissed have resurfaced and were sent to his Chief Executive Officer, implying that his integrity was tainted.
Hermanstyne was backed up by his colleague, Ms. Karen Vansluytman who used the opportunity to send a strong message to Yarde that they will continue to stand firm and will not be intimidated.
The group’s ultimate goal is to see the removal of Yarde through transparent elections.
“It is time that Patrick Yarde go. Why is he so desperate to hold onto power? He wants to use the union to sustain his standard of living. He has no interest in what happens to public servants and the Council members don’t care either,” she said.
The group claims that the support for their challenge has been overwhelming from both within and outside of the union.
“Public servants are tired, public servants are burdened with them there and it is time that Patrick Yarde and his cronies go,” Ms Vansluytman added.