Friday, September 29, 2023
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune News Editor
BAHAMAS Public Services Union president Kimsley Ferguson and his team unofficially won the BPSU’s latest election.
However, former BPSU president and Labour director John Pinder and Alexander Burrows, Jr, a leader of one of the teams, said they would challenge the results, alleging numerous discrepancies.
For his part, Trade Unions Registrar Van Delaney said the Department of Labour does not disclose unofficial results.
“I can’t really confirm anything,” he said yesterday.
The registrar supervises polls and investigates complaints about the process.
Mr Delaney said he had not received formal complaints about the election.
According to Mr Pinder and Mr Burrows, the unofficial results show Mr Ferguson got just over 500 votes in the leadership race, Mr Burrows received over 400 votes, and Mr Pinder finished third with over 300 votes.
Mr Ferguson, who could not be reached for comment up to press time last night, confirmed his unofficial victory during a television interview with Eyewitness News yesterday.
His rivals, however, alleged that the voter registers were incomplete.
“People showed up to vote and their name wasn’t on the register,” Mr Pinder said, adding that less than 50 per cent of eligible members voted.
Mr Burrows said there was a “whirlwind of irregularities”.
“There were areas that did not have an opportunity to have the poll, like Inagua,” he said. “Members there were unable to participate in the election. There were instances when ballots didn’t reach the Family Islands until 2pm in the afternoon. Parts of the register for the University of the Bahamas, in particular, did not reach the designated officer until 2pm, hours after the poll commenced. Another outstanding issue would’ve been the airport. The poll was scheduled to open at 9am, but it opened at 11am.”
Mr Pinder and Mr Burrows said they will push to ensure the poll results are not certified.
“We have absolutely no confidence that Mr Kimsley is capable of being honest and fair in his role of conducting elections,” Mr Burrows said.
He said he wants Article 21 of the Industrial Relations Act invoked.
That section empowers the registrar to intervene when a union fails to take a secret ballot to elect officers.
“We want a new election, a fair process in which everyone has equal opportunity to participate,” he said. “Our members were disadvantaged.”
Thirty people vied for positions across the three teams in the election.