Court grants injunction blocking NPTA meeting
SATURDAY’S general council meeting of the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA) is off.
Late on Thursday, Justice Kevin Ramcharan granted an injunction to members of the association, represented by the law firm of Martin George and Company.
The injunction was pursued by former NPTA president and St George PTA president Zena Ramathali and her team, who have alleged that Saturday’s meeting was “illegally and fraudulently” called.
The court will now have to decide which team is the legally constituted body.
In 2019, less than two months before the NPTA elections, the association’s general council removed its national executive committee.
A member of the general council had raised a motion of no confidence in the executive and it was put to a vote. The council moved that the executive should be removed, and an interim committee was set up to run the affairs of the NPTA until the next election.
Acting president Clarence Mendoza, who was named as one of the 14 defendants on Thursday, filed a judicial review application, arguing he was not duly notified of the new election date in January 2020, so it was cancelled.
Mendoza then withdrew the application.
It is now being alleged that Mendoza and the others – Olive Garcia, Khadesha Alexander, Kari-Ann Mejias, Patrice Drakes, Hugh Griffith, Derek Cooper, Latifah Haniff, Richard Cave, Judith Alexander, Michael Joseph, Shamila Raheem, Francis Sampson and Bernadette Brown-Frederick – do not comprise the duly appointed executive and cannot call an election.
Thursday’s injunction order has restrained Mendoza and the others from exercising, or seeking to exercise, any rights, powers, authority or privileges of the NPTA, until the matter is fixed by the judge the complaint has now been assigned to.
It has been transferred to Justice Margaret Mohammed.
Ramcharan also ordered that the 14 cannot hold Saturday’s special sitting of the general council, on the Zoom online platform, until the court fixes a date.
Contacted for comment on Friday, Mendoza said Saturday’s meeting was never intended to hold an election but to discuss postponing July 10’s election because of covid19 and the pandemic restrictions.
“We do not understand why an injunction was filed to stop an election. The NPTA is not conducting any election.
“A notice went out in January, clearly stating we are looking to have elections on July 10, 2021. Tomorrow we would have met to discuss the election. There has been great concern (about) conducting an election during this time and we wanted to have it in the open.”
Mendoza said when the interim committee collapsed in 2020, as the NPTA’s first vice president, elected in 2017, he was approved on July 4, 2020, as the acting president of the association.
The NPTA is a voluntary organisation established in 1960. In 1976, it achieved legal status through an act of Parliament.
BY: JADA LOUTOO