By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMAS Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson has been granted an injunction barring the union’s executive committee from interfering as she carries out her duties on behalf of the organisation.
However, union Secretary General John Musgrove told The Tribune yesterday that while the committee will adhere to the court injunction for the time being, lawyers were working to appeal it.
He said a poll was taken among executive committee members on Tuesday night when they all agreed that Mrs Wilson’s suspension still stands.
During a press conference at the BUT’s head office, Mrs Wilson said she did not want further damage to the union’s image. The organisation has been involved in a dispute ever since the executive committee announced the suspension of Mrs Wilson and the group’s treasurer in December.
An appeal panel overturned the suspension this month, however the executive committee has refused to accept the decision. Tempers flared outside the union last week Monday between union members when Mrs Wilson held a press conference to announce her reinstatement. Last week she also revealed that she had been unable to get into her office because the locks had been changed.
Mrs Wilson yesterday said she remained hopeful that the executive committee was prepared to work for the betterment of the organisation and its members.
She and BUT treasurer Lorraine Knowles were suspended in December for “infractions.” This month, The Tribune revealed that the executive committee had concerns that more than $1.1m from the union’s pension and savings account was wrongfully spent.
“The Supreme Court has granted an injunction to Belinda Wilson, president of the Bahamas Union of Teachers,” Mrs Wilson said. “As a result, I have returned to office with immediate effect.
“The injunction restrains the executive committee from interfering with me in the course of my duties and the court has also given leave of a judicial review in this matter.
“It is my hope that we can deal with our matters internally and that no further damage will be done to the union’s image and that the executive committee is prepared to work for the betterment of the members of the organisation.
“As I continue to work for the thousands of members of the BUT, my first priority is to lead the negotiating team to a successful conclusion of a new industrial agreement which we started eight months ago because our members are ready for their things.”
Mrs Wilson said she was recommitting herself to lead the union and serve its 3,000 members with the same passion, dedication and tenacity she has always had.
Meanwhile, Mr Musgrove said he was optimistic that the executive committee would obtain a counter injunction from the court.
He said: “We were served on Tuesday but to clarify, the injunction was not against the executive council but against the BUT.
“Our lawyers are in court as we speak giving our side and appealing and we know that once the court hears our side of the story, we will be granted a counter injunction. We wait to hear what the courts have to say.
“By a poll vote, all of the executives still view her as a suspended president.
“We know that we will be victorious,” he added.