Interim committee back in charge of public service credit union

-as judge discharges order

The Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union Limited

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) that was recently installed to oversee the affairs of the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (GPSCCU) has been reinstated.

Their reinstatement follows a decision on Tuesday by Justice Gino Persaud to discharge an Interim Order that he had granted two weeks ago, staying the decision of the Chief Cooperatives Development Officer (CCDO) Perlina Gifth, to assume and or exercise control of the affairs of the union.

The order had been granted upon the reading of an application made without notice on June 14th, with supporting affidavit by GPSCCU Secretary/ Manager Trevor Benn.

The order was expected to be in place until July 3rd, when attorney Roysdale Forde was expected to file skeleton arguments on Benn’s behalf, while July 6th had been set for the hearing of a fixed date application to prevent Gifth or anyone else from acting on the decision previously communicated.

The decision by the judge had led to protest action on Monday by supporters of the IMC who had agreed that there was gross mismanagement of funds by the previous body.

However, Gifth had Tuesday filed an application at the High Court asking that the Interim Order be discharged on the grounds that there was material non-disclosure and misrepresentation by Benn to obtain the order.

It was also stated in Gifth’s application that Benn had no authority to file an application at the High Court since he failed to show that he was duly authorized by at least one third of the members of the GPSSCU and that there had been an abuse of the process of the High Court.

 Stabroek News understands that Benn had filed an application in respect of the same matter for essentially the same reliefs in two different courts albeit under different jurisdictions.

Further, Gifth contended that the discharge of the said interim Order was urgent and necessary to secure the financial interests of the Credit Union itself and the members of the Union.

It is was in this regard that Justice Persaud discharged the interim Order citing serious material non-disclosure by Benn.

Nevertheless, the Court ordered that an Affidavit in Defence be filled by July 10 and that skeletal submissions be filed on July 24; the matter has also been adjourned to July 2.

Meanwhile, a source has since confirmed that the IMC met with GPSCCU staff this morning to announce their reinstatement. It was noted that the IMC and its auditors accompanied by a security detail have moved back into the building.

Stabroek News had reported that on May 25th, a team led by Gifth seized control of the GPSCCU from the Management Committee, which was led by Chairperson Patricia Went, saying that it had ignored previous urgings to abide by the law.

Gifth was supported by members of the Guyana National Cooperative Union Ltd, including Chairman Derrick Cummings, Director Francis Carryl and Security Consultant Johnny Mortley, while members of the Guyana Police Force and a private security service were on standby.

In a press statement on the seizure, the Ministry of Social Protection had explained that its actions were “in conformity with” the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act, which provides that the accounts of every credit union shall be audited at least once annually after which an Annual General Meeting (AGM) would be held to discuss important matters, including the determination and payment of dividends to members.

According to the statement, the Management Committee of the GPSCCU did not find it necessary and expedient to prudently conclude the audits and consequential business in the interest of the subscribing members.

It added that for more than two years the Ministry of Social Protection had engaged the Management Committee, which it advised to comply with the law, exhibit prudence and behave judiciously so that the concerns of thousands of public servants and other public sector employees could have been adequately addressed.

“Rather than adhering to the advice and promptings of the Ministry, the Credit Union Management remained adamant and numb to the members’ pleas while select members of the Management Committee continued to enjoy unjustified benefits at the expense of the members. The Ministry of Social Protection has decided that the time has come for a restoration of the dignity for which the Credit Union was previously known, hence the decisions of the CCDO,” it stated.

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