The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has decided not to pursue any serious disciplinary action against its president Akanni McDowall.
However, following a six-hour meeting at its Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters, the National Council, the second highest decision-making body of the union, ordered the president to immediately return the union’s credit card, which is to be cancelled.
The embattled McDowall has also been ordered to repay all union monies spent for personal use.
Furthermore, a sub committee of the council has been set up to make recommendations on a new credit card use policy for the NUPW.
In the meantime, no president can use any credit card belonging to the union, inside sources told Barbados TODAY.
However, in a prepared statement issued to reporters just after 9 tonight NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith was short on details.
All she would say is “the National Council met this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and you would see that we had long, robust and animated discussions related to a number of issues. This type of interaction strengthens the union for the long journey ahead. We are confident in our leadership to guide this union, the union’s membership through the gripping times before us.”
Smith, who has been publicly at odds with the president in recent weeks, in particular over his positioin on possible public sector job cuts, also said “the president remains buttressed by the members of the union to lead us on that road”, while making it clear that during today’s meeting no charges were brought against him.
However, the meeting was adjourned until next week Thursday when the council will continue to look at the union’s finances.
Earlier in the evening an attempt was made to issue a joint statement to the press. However, that was aborted after McDowall and Smith failed to reach consensus on the contents of the release.
This mood contrasted somewhat to that at the end of the meeting with union officials, including Smith and McDowall, smiling and posing for photographs for the benefit of the press.
Official sources have however told Barbados TODAY that the majority of the time was spent at tonight’s meeting discussing the credit card matter.
Sources also said council members had decided not to go through the whole process of calling a special general conference to remove the president for fear that the process could turn nasty.
“We really want the union to heal and go forward with a united front,” one executive member told Barbados TODAY.
However, McDowall, though eager to pose for photographs and to create a sense of unity, declined to comment to reporters at the end of the night.