Sen. Humphrey embraces new TAWU Leader

Former President of the Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Senator Chester Humphrey has expressed his support for the new leadership of the union under President-General Andre Lewis.

Lewis replaced Sen. Humphrey who has been at the helm of the union for more than three decades.

Speaking on a television programme last week Wednesday, the controversial veteran said he felt it was time for him to pass on the leadership mantle.

The experienced Trade Unionist said that after being at the helm of TAWU for 30 years he felt the time was right for him to step aside.

According to Humphrey, he has always told the member of the powerful and militant trade union that he “would not grow old in leading the organization”.

“I think that after 30 years under my stewardship we have built a mighty and powerful workers’ organisation that is well known and highly respected, way outside of the borders of Grenada,” he told the programme host.

“The best time for a captain to hand over the ship is when the seas are calm,” he said.

Sources within the union told THE NEW TODAY that Sen. Humphrey had started to campaign for another term in office but was forced to rethink after meeting stiff resistance from union members in some key workplaces like GRENLEC, St. George’s University (SGU) and the state-run National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA).

Speculation is rife that he pulled out of the contest when Lewis announced at a management meeting that he intended to run for the leadership of TAWU.

Sen. Humphrey told the programme that his successor has been with the union, working closely with him for about 25 years.

He spoke of Lewis being the youngest Shop Steward at the then Cable and Wireless before being seconded to the TAWU staff for two years.

Lewis soon became TAWU’s General Secretary, and then moved on to the post of Second Vice-President, and then First Vice-President.

He noted that Lewis, a graduate of Presentation Brothers College (PBC) in St. George’s, did a double Masters in less than 36 months of studies.

“He (Lewis) is well suited, very qualified, he has a quiet disposition, different from me, but don’t underestimate him,” said the former TAWU Boss.

Sen. Humphrey also dropped hints about the possibility of taking part in the next General Elections on the island as he has always been engaged in front line politics.

“I am looking at that very closely,” he told the host.

The former member of the Marxist-oriented New Jewel Movement (NJM) has never been selected to contest a seat in general elections in his over 40 years engagement in local politics.

In 2003 and 2008, he had offered himself as a candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Town of St. George and St. George South-east respectively but was never given the nod.

Congress is believed to have overlooked him due to question marks over the manner in which he fled the United States in 1983 after being charged with gun-running.

Sen. Humphrey said even though he is not involved with a political organisation at the moment he intends to continue to make his contribution to the development of Grenada.

The Trade Unionist accused Congress of expelling him as a party member without a charge or trial, and certainly will not reapply for membership of that political entity.

He said at present he is not a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, once his bitter political enemy.

Sen. Humphrey and some expelled members of NDC like former Tourism Minister, Peter David, now a Senator for NNP in the Upper House of Parliament have been co-operating with the Mitchell-led government under the so-called banner of “Project Grenada”.

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