Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2015 Contents A6
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President of the Public Services Asso-
ciation (PSA) Watson Duke will be launch-
ing his candidacy as an independent can-
didate for Tobago East this weekend.
In a brief phone interview yesterday,
Duke said he would be officially sending
a release to media personnel today on the
facts of his candidacy.
But he refused further comment, save
to state the date of his launch which will
be on Sunday at the Roxborough Pirate
Boat Yard at 10 am.
Duke will be going against the People's
National Movement's Iana Webster Roy
and incumbent United National Congress
MP Vernella Alleyne-Toppin.
Last month, the Public Service Associ-
ation (PSA) settled with the Chief Personnel
Officer (CPO) for a 14 per cent salary
increase from 2011 to 2013.
The increase was spread out with four
per cent in 2011 and 2012 and six per cent
Yesterday on Facebook, many of the
readers expressed their shock over the deci-
sion with comments, such as "Smh," "Papa
oui" and "ah wondering who is financing
A member of the Public Service Asso-
ciation, who did not want to be named,
said Duke was residing in Tobago and a
voice for public servants was needed in
"He is a noteable person in Tobago and
he thinks he could change things on a
national level," he said, noting there are
other trade union leaders already in Par-
"We can't change anything unless we
go where policies are formulated and that
is what is needed for public servants.
"We have issues of pension plans that
are archaic. Police officers are getting more
money than public officers while we get
half of the salary to go home once we
retire," he added.
Duke goes after Vernella's seat
People s National Movement
(PNM) vice-chair of the con-
stituency executive and operations
officer, Irene Hinds, is being
named in an orchestrated plot to
reject incumbent Diego Martin
Central MP Dr Amery Browne to
pave the way for the selection of
Darryl Smith, chairman of the
Diego Martin Regional Corpora-
Smith was chosen as the can-
didate for the forthcoming general
election by the PNM screening
committee on Monday night at
Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, after
three new candidates were screened
and rejected and the committee
went back to review previous can-
didates who had also been rejected,
including Browne and Smith.
But according to a PNM source,
Browne and Hinds were at logger-
heads after he raised issues over
Hinds, Smith and Gail La Touche's
stewardship at the DMRC. Hinds
is an alderman in the DMRC while
La Touche is a councillor.
A source said the issue of Hinds'
legitimacy as the PNM Diego Mar-
tin Central executive chair over the
last three years was also an issue
of contention, since the annual
general meeting when she was
selected has been called into ques-
tion as it was not called according
to the party's constitution.
In 2014, a letter was sent to PNM
general secretary Ashton Ford by
nine party group representatives
highlighting serious irregularities
surrounding the then constituency
meeting and asked that it be
declared null, void and of no effect.
That letter also raised concerns of
the alleged prevention of formation
of other party groups.
According to the PNM source,
a constituency executive has no
separate powers of its own and
must reflect the views of the mem-
bers of the constituency group and
However, Hinds is accused of
appointing nine DMRC employees
to the Diego Martin Central (DMC)
executive and using her influence
over them to manipulate the vast
majority of meetings of the exec-
utive and constituency group
meetings to influence a strategic
vote against Browne when he
appeared before the constituency's
At least two PNM members are
said to have sent letters to PNM
leader Dr Keith Rowley and Ford
highlighting the situation and call-
ing for them to deal with the mat-
ter in the interest of fairness.
Contacted yesterday on the alle-
gations, Hinds said she was not
interested in hearing any of the
allegations against her, the DMC
and the DMRC. She, however,
apologised for not being able to
But a senior PNM official yes-
terday said they believe the alle-
gations surrounding Hinds were
being raised to cause mischief.
He added that Hinds was one
of the hardest working officers in
"Several complaints were made
by party members and different
officers of the DMC, all of which
came to the central executive of
the party," the official said.
He added that investigations
were carried out by the PNM's
vice-chairman Colm Imbert and
claimed that he (Imbert) could not
find any validity in the complaints
and allegations made against
Queries over PNM's Diego Central screening...
Alderman named in plot against Browne
List of the DMRC employees on
the PNM's DMC executive are:
• Irene Hinds
• Gail la Touche
• Lynette Ward
• Darryl Smith
• Michelle Corbin
• Antoinette Gaspard
• Rodney O'Neil
• Dianne Burgin
• Gail Pompey-Superville
• Kellane Hinds
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