GPSCCU, police in stand-off

Several persons leave the GPSCCU building after the gates were re-opened on Wednesday (Samuel Maughn photo) Use photo of IMC Chairman Trevor L. Benn also

…after court discharges injunction against gov’t takeover


Guyana Public Service Co-operative Credit Union (GPSCCU) Secretary/Manager Trevor Benn (Samuel Maughn photo)

THE embattled management committee of the Guyana Public Service Co-operative Credit Union (GPSCCU) was ejected from the building on Wednesday after the High Court had discharged an injunction in favour of the Interim Management Committee (IMC).
However, a standoff occurred between the police and the GPSCCU’s security after law officials, Chief Cooperatives Development Officer (CCDO) Perlina Gifth and IMC members were initially prevented from entering the building.

The GPSCCU came into the spotlight a month ago when concerns were raised about the misuse of G$32M in overseas travel by the body’s managers.
Investigations led to the termination of service of the GPSCCU management team by the CCDO and the appointment of the IMC in May 2018.

However, the Secretary of the ousted management committee, Trevor Benn, filed several applications at the High Court and the IMC and CCDO were later prohibited by an interim order on June 21, 2018 from assuming control of the GPSCCU.
But, on Tuesday, the IMC and CCDO took to the High Court to have the interim order discharged and were successful.

“We went to the court to defend that injunction and we won it yesterday. And so, there is an order that the injunction be discharged and now we would have to take over their society in respect to regulation 56:2 of the Laws of Guyana Chapter 88:01,” Gifth said.
The application made to the court by the CCDO was based on the grounds that there was material non-disclosure and misrepresentation to obtain the orders granted on the application of Secretary Trevor Benn to the court.

It was also based on Benn’s failure to show the court that he was duly authorised to file the application by at least one thirds of the GPSCCU members and on his filing of the same application to two different courts.

In addition, the CCDO considered in her application how the credit union and its members could be negatively affected if the interim order was not discharged.
On Wednesday morning they were present at the GPSCCU along with the court marshal to issue the order when the standoff occurred.
Giving the Guyana Chronicle a recap of what ensued, IMC Chairman Trevor L. Benn said: “This morning the marshal came to serve on the secretary/manager the order of the court and he was initially prevented from doing so, but he allowed them in after and the police intervened.

“So the marshal was able to do his work, but the manager refused to remove himself from the office and the people were locked in for more than an hour in the building.”
When the gate to the building was finally opened, the IMC Chairman said: “Good sense is prevailing… We hope the manager will accept the order of the court so that we can move forward.”

A police official tells of the fate of the security guard who initially prevented entry into the GPSCCU building (Samuel Maughn photo)

As the Credit Union Secretary/Manager Trevor Benn exited the building, he told media operatives that he respects the order, which is why he was now out of the building.
“I saw the order and I came out the building. I would have been on my way if it were not for the detention,” he said, adding, “It’s embarrassing for me, my family, my name, my character, my integrity, everything.”

At the conclusion of the standoff, a security guard at the GPSCCU was arrested by the police for previously refusing entry into the building.

The police claim that they presented the court order to the female guard, but she had counterclaimed that she was not briefed on the order.

On the scene, the GPSCCU secretary/manager asked the police to be merciful to the woman, as she was not a main player in the matter.

“When I came in this morning I was told that a security firm was trying to come in…I don’t know the reason why she locked the gate, but I’m asking you to be lenient with her,” he said to the police.

However, this plea fell on deaf ears as the woman was escorted away by the police, accompanied by the secretary/manager, on the basis that she would be required to make a statement on whose authority she locked the gate.