Sep 30, 2022 News
– members up in arms, renew calls for fresh elections
By Zena Henry
Kaieteur News – An ambitious move by the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union (GPSCCU) to provide public servants with easy access to funds for housing and vehicle purchases has been placed on pause as the institution is reviewing the opportunities, new Chairperson Karen Van Sluytman-Corbin has said.
The Chairwoman replaced Trevor Benn following his controversial removal as Head of the Credit Union’s Management Committee. Members of the Credit Union had heaped praise on Benn for the mortgage scheme, with many testifying of the hardship they faced in accessing loans at the commercial banks. With the decision to halt the issuance of mortgage, members are up in arms against the management and renewed their calls for the current body to be replaced.
During an interview with this newspaper, some Credit Union members had spoken positively about the benefits the new loans had brought them, now, allegations are that not only was access to the financing stopped, but access to other benefits were taking longer than it used to. Van Sluytman-Corbin told the Kaieteur News that there is no truth to the information. In a telephone interview she said that the regular loans that are offered by the organisation are still available. She said that there is no issue with union members accessing the regular loans but noted that there were “mischievous” persons currently sharing misinformation about the happens of the organisation.
As it relates to the mortgage and vehicle loans, she said those have been put on pause. “What we have done is put a pause on the mortgage and the vehicle loans… Loans are being issued and it is not true that members are having a difficult time,” Van Suytman-Corbin said. She reiterated that the vehicle and mortgage loans are on a pause and is being reviewed. She added too that when the credit union started issuing the loans, a review was part of their ‘intentions.’ “So, what is being said out there is not accurate,” the Chairwoman said.
Kaieteur News understands that the mortgage and vehicle loans commenced in 2021 and was allegedly stopped after the majority of the Management Committee had voted out Trevor Benn. “The peculiar thing is that in the midst of Government freeing up lands for house lots, the decision is taken to suspend loans. This will force public servants to approach the commercial bank which are not known to be friendly to that category of workers,” a concerned stakeholder told this newspaper.
Benn had refused to step down from the post following the passage of a No Confidence Motion which he described as “illegal” and a “coup d’état”. He claimed that persons were not appreciative of the recognition he was receiving due to the positive changes occurring at the credit union and that there was a deliberate effort to have him removed from his post. The majority of Committee Members voted Benn out in his absence. They said that Benn was not the only one responsible for the changes at the Credit Union and that he had engaged in activities unbecoming of his office. They accused him of leaking confidential information from the organisation and that he wanted to merge his Chairmanship with the post of Chief Executive Officer and allegedly became difficult toward the board when they refused his proposal.
Benn had denied the claims and went on to secure hundreds of names of credit union members calling for an emergency general meeting. Numerous public servants turned out to sign Benn’s petition in an overwhelming show of support for him to remain chairman of the board. Several public servants spoke about changes within the organization and attributed it to Benn’s presence. The members spoke especially about the mortgage and vehicle loans and how beneficial it was to them. The credit union members who also protested in front of the GPSCCU building, in May, had praised Benn for the initiative. The petition had called for the general meeting in 14 days, and it was there that credit union members were expected to vote in a new Management Committee. Given the feuding factions of the board, a date for the general meeting was published and later rescinded. The matter has since engaged the attention of the courts as some Credit Union members have sought legal redress. They want the court to order the GPSCCU to call the general meeting which is legally required once a certain number of Credit Union members have requested it.
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