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BEWU presidential candidate wins appeal

Presidential candidate in the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union(BEWU)January poll, Clyde Cartwright, has secured a major victory in his appeal to have the union’s election results stand.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes disclosed yesterday that he had overturned the decision by Trade Unions Registrar, Harcourt Brown, to declare the elections null and void.

The decision came days after the minister met with several candidates including Brown to discuss the ruling and an appeal filed against it by Cartwright.

Cartwright, an electrical fitter, and an 18-year veteran at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation(BEC)now heads the labor organization, which represents hundreds of line-staff workers at the government corporation.

When contacted yesterday Cartwright was surprised by the outcome. He said he had yet to be notified by the ministry or Department of Labour and opted not to comment until such time.

However, in an earlier interview withThe Nassau Guardian, Cartwright said if elected to the top post, he would place a lot of focus on the issue of privatization.

It is understood that employees are very concerned about the issue, especially since the Bahamas Telecommunications Company is going through the process.

“We must clean up the union and get our accounts back in order and get this union ready for privatization,”Cartwright had reported.

Election results released by the Ministry of Labour indicate that Cartwright received 236 votes, some 16 votes more than his closest rival, who garnered 220 votes.

The election poll came under scrutiny after it was discovered that Dexter Cartwright, a security supervisor, nominated and ran for the secretary general position contrary to a provision in the union’s constitution. That provision states that no member may run or hold office in contravention of any legal contract or agreement the union has with any other party.

The recognition agreement between BEC and BEWU states that while management recognizes the union as the sole bargaining agent for all employees except those in management, the corporation and the union agree that security personnel would not actively participate in union affairs or in industrial action.

In its reasoning to void the elections, Brown stated that because the secretary general’s position is the central issue the registrar of trade unions cannot certify the other positions, as the governing act does not permit the registrar to certify only a portion of the ballot.

However, Foulkes has reversed that decision.

Yesterday, Minister Foulkes admonished BEC management and the new union executives to work together in an environment of mutual respect and trust and to ensure that there is peace at BEC.

Gina Russell won the secretary general position by default. Urban Smith was elected vice-president; Nia Mills is the assistant secretary general; Vinteerie Rolle was elected treasurer; Aquila Knowles is the assistant treasure and Michael Edgecombe is chief shop steward.

The trustees are Richard Wright, Kevin Lockhart and Gloria Moss.

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