While incumbent Public Services Association (PSA) president Watson Duke was busy yesterday celebrating the win of his slate, the Game Changers, in Monday’s PSA elections, at least one of his challengers says they are still awaiting results.
On Wednesday evening, the following message was posted on the Game Changers Facebook page: “Public Services Association President, Mr Watson Duke is pleased to thank all PSA Members who supported the GameChangers team in the PSA Elections which was held on Monday 14th December 2020. GameChangers won PSA Elections 2020 with a landslide victory with 1200 more votes than the closest rival.”
Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew yesterday, Duke boasted that he had gotten more votes than any of his contenders.
“Let me put it this way, my voter turnout was high, the last time we won the elections, I got almost 2,000 votes, 1900 and something, this time is almost 1,800 votes so 200 votes that is not bad,” Duke said.
But the leader of the Labour Warriors, Ian Murray, told Guardian Media there were no results for him or his team to celebrate or mourn.
At just after 5 pm on Thursday, Murray said he had received no results for himself or his slate.
“The only results we have gotten so far is the result telling us what Watson Duke get, we haven’t gotten the results of the election as yet, the only candidate that knows how much people vote for them is on Watson Duke team, nobody else on any other slate has gotten any results from the election officer as yet,” Murray said.
He said the other slates were not told of the difference in votes between their candidates and Duke’s.
He said the election was plagued by a myriad of issues.
“We have received a myriad of complaints from members all over the place that they were not able to exercise their franchise, they were turned away from the polls, we had a lot of issues.”
Murray said he would reserve further comment until he had the full election results.
Guardian Media also tried contacting Concerned Public Officers leader Curtis Cuffie and Team Sentinel’s leader, Nixon Callender for comment but calls to their cellphones went unanswered.
Meanwhile, Duke said the union is suffering from a shrinking membership.
For this, he laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
Duke said that since he took charge of the PSA, it’s membership has grown significantly.
But he said Imbert’s tough economic policies saw public servants dropping out of the association in frustration.
“For the first time in our life, the Finance Minister comes out on national television and tells an international audience, “Look I have raised gas three times and no one riot, I am going to raise it again.”
It’s the first time a finance minister came out and said ‘look, zero per cent, zero per cent, zero per cent, I might give them one per cent.’ It’s the first time a finance minister came out and said ‘look, don’t come to my table at all’, it’s the first time and so it is very difficult for persons to see through the rain, to see through the darkness,” Duke said.
He also blamed the COVID-19 pandemic, saying members have become mentally fatigued.
As he boasted of retaining the president general portfolio of the PSA, Duke said his re-election is a ‘resuscitation of hope.’
“Hope has been resuscitated, (it) has been brought back to life, given the fact, I would say under my tenure I am going to resuscitate and bring back the negotiations that were going to dogs.”
He said despite the members’ grim outlook, new members are still eager to sign up for the PSA.
“Every month we add members to the PSA, every month and the majority of those members are voluntary, we have gone to places like Mt Hope and Port of Spain General Hospital, we have had over one day, hundreds of doctors joining, people are filling out the form, people are excited to be led by the PSA. If you know the PSA can be deemed as the North America of trade unions right now, the largest democratic union in the country.”