Another group of public servants, made up of several executive members of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), has entered the union’s leadership race.
The team’s leader and presidential candidate, Kimberley Agard declared Thursday: “We believe our team, The New Guard, are the perfect blend to take the NUPW forward to where we think it deserves to be or should be in these times. We are a combination of youthful enthusiasm as well as people with a fountain of institutional knowledge who will have shown their commitment to the organisation throughout the years.”
The team launched its campaign at a late evening press conference amid spiralling controversies that have plagued the 75-year-old organisation that represents the majority of the island’s public servants.
Agard said: “We have to do some serious public relations and educating of our members so they understand the rules of the organisation and the rules that govern the workplace. We know the task we have ahead of us won’t be easy, but my team is committed to doing whatever it takes to bring the NUPW back to a place of respect and not one plagued with controversy.”
Members of the team include Charles Bostic, who is currently the NUPW second vice president and he will be running for first vice president; Pamela Humphrey, the incumbent general treasurer who will once again be contesting that post; John Parris who is vying for second vice president; O’Brien Smith who will be running for third vice president, and Roy Greenidge, who is hoping to retain his post as deputy general treasurer.
Smith, who works with the Ministry of Youth Affairs, declared: “My main focus will be on the younger members of the civil service. Unfortunately, as we saw last week, there is no real succession planning in terms of young people coming through the union, and my focus will be on getting more of them engaged in the union so they can know what it offers them, and in turn, what they can offer it.”
Parris told reporters: “I will be concentrating on education. We have the Public Workers Academy that we are hoping will be vibrant within the union, so we want to provide that education and training to the NUPW members. We have a database of members and we want to reach as many of them as possible because we want to provide knowledge on matters like mental health issues and pensions to our members.”
Vice presidential candidate Bostic said: “We have a lot of damage control to do because in the last few months the union has really taken a beating, especially from within. Right now we need to raise our standard in terms of how we treat our members since they are the most important element of the organisation.”
Incumbent General Treasurer Pamela Humphrey said: “I will be focusing on accountability for the finances of the union so the union will be a force to reckon with in the future.”
Agard concluded: “Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our strategies and ideas with the members so that they can see what we have developed is for their benefit. We will work assiduously to ensure that the NUPW will once again become an organisation every single member is proud of.”