A questionmark is still hanging over the top post at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) after a meeting of the General Council, called at 2:45 p.m. today ended abruptly.
However, that was not before Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers Roslyn Smith was nominated and seconded to be its next General Secreatary when incumbent Dennis Clarke retires next month.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY this evening, Smith confirmed that she was indeed nominated and seconded for the post, although she could not comment any further on what had taken place during the two-hour meeting at the NUPW headquarters on Dalkeith Road, St Michael, since she had recused herself from the exercise after securing the nomination.
In a brief comment, General Secretary Dennis Clarke said “the process is not fully agreed on”, adding that “we have to make some adjustments”.
He also said “there were no nominations at today’s meeting”.
However, Barbados TODAY has learnt that after Smith was nominated and seconded by council members, it was agreed that a new procedure should be followed that could see the union looking outside for a successor to Clarke.
“They hope to look internally and if they do not find a suitable candidate from among the staff, then they will retain a private company to interview candidates and they expect the [General] Council to rubber stamp that,” informed council member Danny Gill who attended today’s meeting at which he said some concern was expressed over the way the process was handled.
The outspoken Council member explained that “a nomination for Smith was on the floor and then President of the NUPW, Walter Maloney, indicated that it was not done properly, so they discussed procedures for how the position should be filled and then that is how the disarray came.”
He said the NUPW executive would now have to agree to another procedure to put before the General Council in terms of how they are going to fill the top position.
Maloney could not be reached for comment this evening.
However, at a press confidence yesterday he had hinted that the union may have to look outside. He had also spelt out the qualifications needed to fill the post of General Secretary. These included a Master’s in Industrial Relations, as well familiarity with information technology and use of social media.
During the presss briefing, Maloney had also strongly endorsed the election of 38-year-old Toni Moore as general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, arguing that “talent doesn’t have to be at 60 or 50”.
The NUPW president, who will demit office in March next year, was equally adamant that the movement must be made more attractive to young people, saying “it is clear that we cannot continue to do the things that we would have done and use the same strategies that we would have used back in the 60s, 70s and 80s”.
However, Gill was insistent this evening that the nomination of Smith, who had worked at the union for some 40 years, should be allowed to stand.
“. . . You cannot overlook the woman by speaking about qualifications only,” he said.
“When they begin to speak about the candidate must have a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations it is a big joke. When they speak of familiarity with information technology and social media that is another piece of nonsense. I told them, you put Smith in place and then you can use that procedure to get a deputy, and having done that you would have someone who you would ‘blood’ as a deputy for four or five years to take over.”
Gill also suggested that apart from Smith, there was nobody to carry the organisation forward.
“It was Smith who carried the organisation when Clarke was ill for that extended period,” he told Barbados TODAY.