Long-standing trade unionist, Chester Humphrey has been replaced by Andre Lewis as President-General of the island’s powerful Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU).
Lewis, who formerly served as 1st Vice President on TAWU’s Management Committee, was elected unopposed to hold the position for the next three years at the close of nominations last week Thursday.
Chief Elections Officer, Alex Phillip said there was only one nominee for each of the 18 positions on the TAWU management committee.
The outgoing President-General did not contest the post this year but affirmed that he will be available to lend support to the union that he has led for more than 25 years.
Union sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the odds were very much against the controversial union boss mounting a successful challenge to hold onto the TAWU leadership.
A source who did not want to be identified said that Humphrey, the current President of the Senate had started to visit work places to campaign but got too many negative feedbacks from workers in key areas of the economy.
He said there was a large clamour for change among the TAWU membership especially in such places at GRENLEC, St. George’s University (SGU), and NAWASA especially at the Dusty Highway location in the south of the island.
According to the source, the retrenched workers at the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) are also accusing Humphrey of “selling them out” in the negotiations with government to end their tenure with the state body.
He spoke of Humphrey’s decline as the leader of TAWU started when he launched the “Project Grenada” initiative with some other left-wingers like former Foreign Minister Peter David to co-operate with the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The source expressed fears that Sen. Humphrey’s day as a prominent trade union figure in the country “is just about over” and it “was a sad day to see how he had to bow out as the workers lost faith in him”.
Humphrey has served the Labour movement for more than 42 years.
Speaking at a press conference last week Wednesday the outgoing TAWU boss announced that he will be “relinquishing” his position.
“The time has come for me to relinquish my leadership at the level of President-General,” Humphrey said, expressing the view that he is “leaving a solid organisation behind; one that is well structured, efficient, knowledgeable, and in the hands of comrades that (are) dedicated and well tested in the battle.”
However, Humphrey affirmed that he “will remain available to the Union for consultancy purposes and to give them further guidance.”
The union leader who regarded himself as “a committed socialist” and “atheist” said that he will “continue to serve the workers” of Grenada.
The other members who will serve on the TAWU new Management Committee are 1st Vice President, Trevor Xavier, 2nd Vice President, Watson Benjamin, General Secretary, Bert Patterson, Assistant General Secretary, Shirlene Herbert, Treasurer, Khary Delves.
Godwin “Chappell” Thomas, Shirlyn Mitchell and Cosilia St. Louis-Jeremiah were elected to serve as Trustees.
THE NEW TODAY understands that TAWU’s new Management executive is expected to be presented to the general membership during the Tri-ennial national Conference (TNC) at the Trade Centre Annex carded for March 17, Grand Anse, St. George.