Police Escort Former Hotel Union Executives Off Premises

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Former executives of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) who reportedly hired a locksmith to change the locks at the headquarters Wednesday were escorted off the property by police, according to the union's recently ousted president.

Nicole Martin told the Journal yesterday that the former executive body attempted to change the locks. However she explained that its attempts were unsuccessful.

Ms. Martin said while the former administration had asked the court to be reinstated to its former positions, the court did not rule in its favor.

"Despite the court ruling which did in fact make the May 28th elections null and void, the former administration was not reinstated," Ms. Martin said.

A joint press release issued and signed late yesterday by BHCAWU former President Roy Colebrooke and First Vice President Kirk Wilson –the two men who were once warring factions within the union–maintained that the former administration under their leadership is in fact the governing body of the BHCAWU.

In the press release, both the former president and first vice president claimed that supporters of the recently ousted executive body have threatened violence against their administration at Workers House, which both men said has prevented them from doing their jobs.

The former executives said however that the council has taken all the necessary steps to follow Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs' decision.

The release also noted that a date for the elections will be announced shortly and said all members in good standing with the union will be permitted to vote, including members who may have been made redundant from their jobs since August 2008.

The former executives also stated in the press release that they are "still on the job" and advised the membership that they will be "addressing and dealing with all industrial grievances of the membership as before and generally seeing to the work and objectives of the union."

Ms. Martin however stressed that the union is operating without a governing body, which she says is not in the best interest of the membership.

She explained that the union elections were only nullified following mistakes made by the previous administration.

"It is unfortunate that we [the new executive team] did not have anything to do with the [decision made by the courts], but we are still being impacted by the decisions made by the former administration," she said. "We are going to court [Thursday] and hoping there is some clarity [to this situation].

The recently ousted president however is confident that even when the elections are called, her team will once again emerge victorious.

"We won by 80 percent and we are likely to win by 95 percent this time around because we were able to turn the union around in two months and garner the support of other members, while dealing with certain issues within the industry," she said.

Source: The Bahama Journal