Derek Achong

The long-overdue Public Service Association (PSA) election is set to go ahead on schedule on Monday.

Guardian Media understands that during a virtual hearing before Justice Nadia Kangaloo yesterday afternoon, former presidential candidate Solomon Gabriel withdrew a lawsuit, which had delayed the elections for almost three years.

In the lawsuit, Gabriel and his Team Fixers slate were claiming that an injunction they obtained stopping the election in November 2017 still stood as the union’s general council and elections committees never met the requirements for its discharge.

In the substantive case, the group contended that the list of voters was fundamentally flawed due to a decision taken by the union’s general council to allow PSA members with union dues arrears to be allowed to vote if they cleared their arrears.

At the time the initial lawsuit was brought and an injunction granted by Kangaloo almost 300 of the union’s 14,000 members, reportedly made use of the allowance.

In February 2018, Kangaloo ordered the committee to sanitise the list and set a new date for elections after she found multiple irregularities on it.

Last year, the team brought contempt proceedings in which they claimed that the committee breached Kangaloo’s order by deciding to scrap their original list and by stating that the election should be held in November, this year.

The decision effectively gave controversial incumbent PSA president Watson Duke almost a full third term in office without being elected by the union’s membership.

Gabriel’s group also filed separate proceedings in which his slate challenged the actions of the union’s General Council, which disbanded the elections committee after it made the decision on postponing the elections. The council is chaired by Duke.

The election was initially due to be held on November 30, but the new election committee agreed to defer it due to recurring issues with the voters’ list.

In a letter sent to the committee last week Friday, Gabriel’s lawyer Stacey Mc Sween indicated that noted her clients still had issues with the up-to-date list published by the new committee and suggested that a third party be appointed to sanitize it.

Contacted yesterday, Gabriel said he took the decision as too many parties had joined in the litigation, which seemed to be going around in circles.

Gabriel said if he wished to prevent the election he would have to incur the expense of filing another lawsuit against the new election committee as the first was against the members that were subsequently removed. He said that such a move would take several years and would essentially hand Duke another unelected term.

“It is a whole big callaloo and we have to foot the bill,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel noted that he did not contest the election as it would have constituted contempt of court in relation to Kangaloo’s initial rulings.

Gabriel was also represented by Lemuel Murphy.