Presidential candidate of The United Force (TUF), Valerie Garrido-Lowe is set to continue as leader of the party following a High Court ruling in her favour by Justice James Bovell-Drakes on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Garrido-Lowe obtained an injunction against her party colleagues, Manzoor Nadir and Ismail Muhammad, preventing them from interfering with her functions. The injunction was granted by Justice James Bovell-Drakes.
Garrido-Lowe, who was represented in the matter by attorneys Abiola Wong-Inniss, Fitz Peters and Christopher Ram, noted at a press briefing yesterday that the matter was ruled in her favour. Reading from the court documents, she said “that it is ordered and directed that the defendants, Ismail Muhammad and Manzoor Nadir, together, by themselves, their servants or agents or workers or otherwise… be restrained and an injunction is hereby granted restraining the said Ismail Muhammad and Manzoor Nadir together, by themselves, their servants or agents or workers or otherwise… from interfering with the occupation and place of the plaintiff”.
The judge also passed a ruling restraining Nadir from holding himself out as leader of TUF and he was also restrained from occupying the premises from which the party operates at Shiv Chanderpaul Drive and Robb Street.
Garrido-Lowe said the lawyers representing Muhammad and Nadir had filed an application to dismiss the order but it was later dismissed by the judge after a hearing yesterday at the High Court.
Flanked by party executives from around the country, mainly the Hinterland areas and sections of Region Ten, Garrido-Lowe said the party was now in a better position to carry out its election campaign without any hindrances.
She said the party has a lot of work to do adding that many party supporters in the hinterland areas from which the party receives much of its support, “were praying and calling us everyday to find out what was happening”.
Asked whether the party was considering merging with existing parties, Garrido-Lowe said the thought remains out of the question, adding that it preferred to work individually in the lead up to the elections. She said TUF operated under the umbrella of the ruling PPP in the past, but is now more aligned to achieving its set goals as an individual entity.
As regards its campaign, she said that will begin when the polling date is announced and at the moment the party is mobilizing its support base around the country.
TUF had been in leadership crisis for several weeks with back and forth exchanges between the executives of the party, including Nadir and Garrido-Lowe. Garrido-Lowe had vowed to lead the party into this year’s elections without any affiliations with the ruling PPP and her outbursts on the issue resulted in disagreements with persons on the party’s executive, including Muhammad.
She had vowed to operate as leader of the party despite opposition from Muhammad and other party executives. The showdown between Garrido-Lowe and Muhammad stemmed from the former’s move to have Nadir vacate TUF’s seat in Parliament.
Garrido-Lowe issued a statement earlier this month saying that on August 31, TUF’s executive had met and removed Muhammad as a member of the executive and relieved him of his position as chairman of the party.
A resolution passed by Garrido-Lowe’s backers said this action had been taken against Muhammad, after he failed to turn up to a meeting to explain why he had sent a letter to the media supporting Nadir’s retention of the Parliament seat and used the names of members of the executive without their permission.