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Hall of Justice

Derek Achong

A High Court Judge has granted an interim order temporarily lifting the purported suspension of 13 Public Services Association (PSA) members. Guardian Media understands that the members sought the interim relief last week, as they were allegedly banned from using the services of the union, from attending meetings and from performing union duties by PSA president Watson Duke in April.

Delivering a preliminary ruling on Monday, High Court Judge Devindra Rampersad ruled that the “interdiction” of their duties as allegedly done by Duke, was in essence a suspension. He also suggested that Duke did not have the power under the PSA’s constitution to suspend ordinary members.Rampersad’s ruling on the issue is not final and it may change when he considers full submissions in the case in a few months time. The members are Damian Vincent, Ainsley Williams, Jennifer Frederick, Preston George, Nixon Callender, Duaine Hewitt, Oral Saunders, Darryl Lamy, Jason Dottin, Jude Davidson, Derek Wint, Ian Murray and Shalene Suchit-Dwarika.Saunders, Murray, and Murray were presidential candidates in the PSA’s last election in December, last year, in which Duke emerged victorious and won a third consecutive term. In the substantive case, the group is claiming that Duke’s action breached their contracts with the union, as members, and tenants of the union’s constitution. In a brief interview yesterday, Saunders said he and the other members were grateful to their attorneys for securing the preliminary decision, which he said helped to preserve freedom of speech in the union. Saunders noted that he and other members, who were not part of the group, were suspended by Duke previously and won a lawsuit which restored their membership. He suggested that the previous case was possibly responsible for the fact that the word “interdicted” was used as opposed to suspension in the notice issued by Duke in relation to them. The group is being represented by Rondelle Keller and Rachel Richards while Ravi Rajcoomar and Nalini Bansee represented Duke and the PSA.