Former Head of the Government Information Service (GIS), Rae Roberts will be the new representative for Labour in the Senate.
Roberts was given the nod last week Thursday following a meeting of the unions making up the membership of the Grenada Trades Union Council (TUC).
He will be replacing President-General of the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Chester Humphrey who has been labour’s representative in the Senate for over 20 years.
According to a well-placed source, Humphrey was in attendance at the meeting but did not offer himself for re-election to the post.
The source said that there has been growing opposition within TUC circles in recent months to Humphrey getting the nod for another five years to sit in the Senate.
He spoke of behind the scene manoeuvres taking place among TUC members especially the Public Workers Union (PWU) and the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) with support from the Bank & General Workers Union (GBWU) to identify someone other than Humphrey to support on the day of election for the one Senate place for Labour.
He said that Roberts agreed to accept the position once the GUT and BGWU would support his candidacy.
In addition, PWU is said to be peeved with Humphrey over the manner in which he was voted back into the Senate after the July 2008 general elections.
The source said that there was an understanding among some trade union leaders that PWU President, Madonna Harford would be selected for the Senate position but on the day of voting, Humphrey accepted nomination and won the position.
He stated that this time around, the anti-Humphrey lobbyists within TUC were more united in their approach to keep out the controversial trade unionist from the Senate.
“If Chester had any intention of putting his name up (in the meeting last week Thursday), he would have changed his mind when Justin Campbell of (GBWU) nominated Rae (Roberts) as the person that the TUC wanted to represent them in the Senate.
“With PWU and Teachers having six votes among them, and only one more needed to secure the win (for Roberts) that was enough for Chester to know that he did not have a chance of getting back once Justin did the nomination.
“The person to be selected need only seven of the thirteen votes to win and with GUT and PWU having six and with Justin nominating Rae for the position, it was clear in terms of the outcome of the voting. Chester sat there quietly. He did not say anything at all.
The source pointed out that some persons within the TUC are also planning to keep Humphrey out of the Presidency of TUC when the holder of the post, Madonna Harford steps down later in the year.
He said that most of the union leaders in the country have grown weary of Humphrey’s constant attacks on the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of ex-Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
Last September, Humphrey and nine others including five sitting Members of Parliament were expelled from Congress in the wake of a bitter internal party dispute.
The expelled Congress members campaigned against the ruling party and in some cases urged the Electorate to vote in favour of the New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The source said that the person tipped to replace Harford as head of the trade union movement on the island is Marvin Andall, the former President of GUT.
“Once Andall gives the all-clear and is interested in the post (TUC President), he will get it. The votes of Public Workers and GUT are enough for him to get the post”, he added.
Speculation is rife that the Seamen & Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU) will not back a Humphrey candidacy to land the top position in TUC.
There has been no official indication from Humphrey that he might seek the TUC Presidency.