Court extends injunction, NPTA remains in limbo
A HIGH COURT judge on Thursday extended an injunction previously granted in June to former NPTA president and St George PTA president Zena Ramathali and her team.
At a virtual hearing, Justice Margaret Mohammed extended the injunction granted by her colleague Justice Kevin Ramcharan on June 10, in a claim filed by Ramathali and her team who alleged that a general council meeting was to be held by the NPTA, and was “illegally and fraudulently” called.
Ramathali and her team are represented by attorney Martin George.
The injunction restrains 14 members of the NPTA, led by Clarence Mendoza, from holding themselves out as the executive of the body and from exercising any powers until the claim is heard.
Mendoza and his team are represented by attorney Richard Jagessar who asked for the injunction to be discharged. Jagessar submitted that with the impending resumption of school in September, some of his clients were members of committees of the NPTA.
However, Mohammed reminded that no individual committee member could speak on behalf of the organisation without express permission or delegated authority, so it was best that the injunction continue until the case is determined.
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.
In a previous interview with Newsday, Mendoza said the meeting that had been called off in June 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 a 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