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President of the Public Service Union, Elroy Boucher, left, and other members of his executive at the press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.
President of the Public Service Union, Elroy Boucher, left, and other members of his executive at the press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.
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The Public Service Union says it has referred to its lawyer a Facebook post in the name of one of its members, which the union’s president, Elroy Boucher, says defamed the union.

The post, on Aug. 4, the day on which the union held its scholarship presentation, alleged that the union had discriminated against one of its members for political reasons, by revoking the offer of a scholarship to his child.

But Boucher told a press conference in Kingstown, on Tuesday, that the offer was revoked after the parent confirmed that his child had accepted another scholarship.

He said that the union’s Education Committee selected the scholarship five recipients from among 20 applicants.

Boucher told the media that the parents of the successful students were informed that their children had been successful and that if they choose to accept the PSU scholarship, they could not accept another scholarship from another institution.

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He said that prior to the commencement of the award ceremony, the union was “reliably informed” that one of the recipients had already been awarded a scholarship from another institution.

Boucher said that a short meeting was held with the parent of that applicant

“[The parent] was asked whether his son had accepted a scholarship from another institution. He, at first, denied, but later admitted that his son was awarded a scholarship from the Nurses’ Association but he thinks he is entitled to one from PSU, as a result of his membership.”

Boucher said that the letter that is normally given to parents of scholarship recipients was read to Matthews.

“The letter stated clearly that the scholarship recipient can only be awarded a PSU scholarship if they have not accepted a scholarship from another institution,” the union leader told the media.

Boucher read at the press conference an Aug. 4 post on the Facebook profile in the name of a PSU member, who he said was the person who made the allegation.

The writer of the post said that his son did really well for the primary school exit examination and someone suggested that he apply for a PSU scholarship.

“… but I didn’t want to have anything to do with them because I know how they stand, but my wife insisted that she is going to sign up,” the post said.

The writer said they were informed that their son’s application was successful.

However, the writer said, after arriving at the PSU headquarters on the day of the scholarship presentation ceremony, “they decide to change their minds and pulled me aside and told me they can’t give my son the scholarship anymore”.

The writer alleged that the decision was made because of his affiliation to the ruling Unity Labour Party.

“So right now I’m in motion to send them a letter requesting to leave the union…” the post further stated.

Boucher said that when he saw the post, it had been shared 44 times and there were 79 comments.

“Many of those comments initially are quite disparaging to the union. The image, reputation and brand of the PSU has been damaged by the irresponsible and dishonest action of [the person who made the post],” Boucher said, mentioning the alleged poster by name.

He said that the PSU is an 80-year-old organisation and has a reputation of standing firmly with and supporting its members.

“That reputation came under threat by a disgruntled and dishonest … This matter has been brought to the attention of our lawyers and thus we will await whatever advice they would give on the next steps to take in response to [the alleged poster] and his action on Facebook.”

Boucher said he did not hear it himself, he understands that the allegation against the PSU was also made on a local radio station.

“Some very disparaging comments were made and at the time I made a post to give the information that [the alleged poster] did not give, which basically is that he had accepted another scholarship and that as a policy, he could not receive a PSU scholarship.”

Boucher said that after he responded to the post, “a number of posts that were made by Labour supporters were pulled down but the damage had already been done”.

He said that the PSU scholarship programme has operated for as long as he can remember and was in place when he joined the union.

“We have never had one issue of this type of thing.”

He said that the first four persons who were awarded scholarships eventually declined because they had accepted better offers from other institutions, thereby making it possible for the union to grant scholarships to four other students.

“And that is normally the nature of scholarships awarded by institutions. If you don’t accept it because you have something better, it creates an opportunity for someone else.”

Speaking at the same press conference, the union’s First Vice-President, Gweneth Stoddard-Baptiste, read the union’s scholarship policy, which, among other things, says that once the parent agrees to accept a scholarship from the PSU, the parent cannot accept a scholarship from another institution.

5 replies on “Member’s Facebook post about PSU scholarship award defamatory — president”

  1. Parents have a heart, you can’t expect two scholarships for your child, while another child can’t even get one. Have some empathy for the others children some of whom can’t even afford registration fee.

  2. Frank E da Silva says:

    What is the nonsense with the use of the word “alleged”? Is there anything that cast doubt on the identity of the individual who made the disingenuous post?

    1. Frank E da Silva,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The union said that a named person made the post. The union is making that allegation. We have been unable to reach the person to determine if they made the post, as alleged, hence our use of “alleged”.

  3. This person should be made to give a public apology and charged a hefty fine to ho alang with the apology. Too damn greedy and heartless.

  4. This smells like a ULP ploy. They will do anything to materialize there every wish. Attemps to manipulate the Press to gain favor and insure their perpetual rule is not past them.

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