On Saturday, The Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) held a special convention at St Mary’s Parish Hall to elect new officers. The following were endorsed to their positions on the executive for a three year term: President Audrey Matura Shepherd, Vice President Basil Brannon, Organizer Stephany Gongora and Treasurer Amy Forte. There was an election, however, for three trustees on the executive, and two were elected, Antonio Heredia and Brian Duncan.
However, there is an unusual development, as after three recounts there was a tie for the third position between Ras Deon Pitter of the stevedores and Maureen Mahmud Reyes, who received 181 votes each. The new president explained to PLUS News after the meeting what will happen in the case of the tied vote.
“We had an endorsement of the post of President, Vice-president, organizer, treasurer, but we needed to fill three posts for the trustees. There were four persons contesting the posts for trustees; unfortunately, we had a tie. So, we have two , definitely that are Elias and Mr. Duncan, but we need to fill three post for the trustee, which was Mahmud and Mr. Ras Peters who tied with a 181 votes. That means that we have to have another election to break that tie or either one of both can decide to vote fifth if they want. But nobody is under pressure to dehn ting; we don’t have a problem with doing an election because we already have a sitting to set the date; it does not cripple us on continuing the work”.
Before the election a motion was passed to allow voting by secret ballot and by proxy, that is, representatives of the 13 groups making up the union as well as individual voters, since due to financial issues the union was never going to make quorum for the meeting. New Vice President Brannon told us about some of the immediate priorities of the union following this election.
Ms. Audrey Matura Shepherd: “I think it can be a challenge, but at the same time, it can be a benefit because we cannot allow any branch to be operating in any isolation. So, the stevedores are having issues, we have people in the banking system, in the office system, in al other branches I have skills that can help them and vice-versa. If the banking people are having an issue, we have people from all other sectors within the Union that can be of assistance. I would want to see who has a strength and weakness because at the end of the day, if we don’t cover this wide range of membership, this people will be displaced. They can’t fit in the communication sector, in the Energy Worker Union; they are not teachers; those are unions that are sticking to a profession. We are embracing any and everyone, and it doesn’t matter your case ill or your status. What matters is that you are an employee and you are making money and you need legal protection”.
It has been agreed that the position for the general secretary will be no longer be an executive position but a salaried position in which the selected person will be treated as an employee of the union. Attorney Matura-Shepherd, who plans to tour the country to meet the far-flung groups that the union represents, says it is important for the union to stand together, and that its unique composition can be a strength.
Brian Duncan: “Definitely, we need to fix our constitution. For the first moment, our agenda is to get our people together, so that we can talk to them, see their issues, so that we can move forward with that, and also fix our office financials and everything”.
Reporter: “Today, effective for March 8th is the end of the ten year of Mr. Antonio Gonzalez and Mr. James Mcfoy. Depending on the fixing of the office that you spoke about, will there be any action taken against them?”
Brian Duncan: “If there is wrongdoing, wherever the trip falls, will fall”.