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Threat to stop Pan Trinbago elections
Controversy is brewing in Pan Trinbago, mere days before its triennial elections on Sunday. Up to late yesterday, documents were being prepared to file an injunction in the High Court to stop the elections, scheduled for Capital Plaza, formerly the Crowne Plaza, Port-of-Spain.
Pan Trinbago secretary Richard Forteau was given up to 10 am on Monday to accept four representatives of steelbands to contest the elections. Forteau failed to respond, despite receiving notification on Friday that legal proceedings would be initiated otherwise. After the four submitted their nominations to Forteau, he told them the forms were invalid because they were not named as delegates of any member steelband.
The quartet is Keith Simpson, Denise Hernandez, Maurice Alexander and Steadson Jack, who are contesting the posts of treasurer, external relations officer, education officer and trustee, respectively. The four have sought legal advice from Senior Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and on Friday a legal letter was sent to Forteau to say that if he did not include their names on the list of candidates, an injunction would be filed to stay the elections.
When contacted on Saturday, Forteau said the documents, sent via fax late on Friday from the law firm RLM & Co, were incomplete and that he would consult his lawyers. Numerous calls to his mobile phone yesterday were unsuccessful.
The members are candidates on the slate called The New Visionaries, with Tobagonian Beverley Ramsey-Moore, of Petrotrin Katzjammers, running for president. If she wins, it will be historic and a break in tradition at Pan Trinbago, which has never have had a woman at its helm.
According to Pan Trinbago’s constitution, each member steelband is required to elect two delegates to act as its representatives to the general body and to give the secretary their names to enable the two delegates to attend and vote on behalf of the bands. It says any delegated member of a financial member steelband is eligible for election to any office of the association.
The lawyer’s letter said Forteau was confusing the terms “delegates” and “any delegated member” and interpreting them to mean the same thing. “Having regard to the conduct of affairs of Pan Trinbago for over 28 years and the interests of reasonableness, fairness and common sense, the term ‘any delegated person’ in Article 10 cannot be equated to the term ‘delegates’ in Article 7.”
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