It’s now official – the President of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Rachael Roberts is being challenged for her position by one of her own Executive members, Brian Grimes, the outgoing Public Relations Officer (PRO).
Grimes’ name came up alongside Roberts at the close of Nomination Day as the only two persons vying for the post of PWU President for the 2019-21 period.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Grimes is the acknowledged leader of the anti-Roberts faction within the union.
According to the report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer for the union balloting, Robert Robinson, there will be a couple of new faces on the PWU Executive as some of the outgoing Executive members are not on the final list of names to contest the poll on March 8.
The outgoing 1st Vice-President, Andrew Augustine is now holding the post of Clerk of Parliament and as such is not eligible to run for office on the PWU Executive.
Augustine’s name had also surfaced a few months ago for the post of Labour Commissioner as a possible replacement for the current office holder, Cyrus Griffith who is due to retire from the service on reaching the age of 60.
The two persons who filed papers to contest the position of PWU 1st Vice-President are medical doctor Devon A. Francis who is attached to the St. George’s General Hospital, and Trevor Thompson who is the Soil and Conservation Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture.
The outgoing 2nd Vice-President, Finbar T. Thomas of the Supreme Court registry is being challenged for his post by Arthur Pierre, an employee of the Ministry of Health.
The two outgoing Assistant Secretaries Deanna Isaac (Carriacou) and Margaret Goddard will have to battle to remain on the PWU Executive in the face of challenges from Atasha Gilbert and Susan Peters.
The Election Officer reported that there were one nominee each for the positions of Secretary, Treasurer and PRO and said that there will be no contest on March 8 for these positions.
He declared Agatha Alexis as the new PWU Secretary, taking over from Donald Noel who did not seek re-election, as well as Paula Phillip as the new Treasurer as replacement for Justin Hazzard who has been elevated to a top position as Director of Budget within the Ministry of Finance and Daisy Hazzard as Grimes’ replacement as PRO for the union.
The union election is coming against the backdrop of a protracted battle against the Keith Mitchell-led ruling New National Party (NNP) administration on a 25% demand for pension and gratuity payment as opposed to the latest offer of 8% by the regime.