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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 19 October 2017 00:00

On Tuesday October 17, 2017 nightly news (Channel 7), Senator Elena Smith president of BNTU, was heard making the following statements regarding the Public Sector Workers’ Trust.

“The initial sums of monies that were spent from the trust was spent to put together the trust deed. That had to be drafted and that had to be drafted by attorneys and so we paid I believe 3 attorneys had been paid to draft the deed.”

“We must now go and redo the trust deed based on the court judgement. The government has been named as the settler and so we must now go through and draft a new trust deed to be presented for acceptance and that is where we are.”

A claim was brought against the Trustees of the Public Sector Workers’ Trust, and on 28th April 2017, the court ruled that the Deed of Trust dated 29th August 2013 between PSU and the BNTU was invalid and unenforceable. The court ordered a proper trust deed to be drawn up to include the GOB as settlor upon terms to be agreed. Based on her statement, this has not been done as yet.

The court has also ordered that there be a detailed accounting of the FUND’S activities given to the beneficiaries who were the claimants in the case, and that there be recovery of funds invested by the unions. The Beneficiaries are crying foul and with good reason. The seemingly illegal Trustees are being defiant in honoring the Court’s ruling.

The Beneficiaries’ concerns are not unfounded, since Senator Smith, the President of the BNTU, claims that only legal fees for the illegal trust was paid from the funds is starkly in contrast to the audited Financial Statements done by Baker Tilly Hulse for the year ended December 31, 2016. The Statements having the year 2015 as comparative paints a different story.

At page 17 Note 10 appears a line item “Unreconciled Differences” for $4,152.00. This suggests that moneys to the sum of $4,152 are unaccounted for. Persons are being paid to manage this fund, the TRUST should not be made to bear that loss. On page 19 Note 16 covering expenses under line item “LEGAL FEES,” it suggests that $49,170 was paid out in legal fees between 2015 and 2016. Now according to Ms. Smith legal fees for the original TRUST was already paid. Guardian was able to learn that that payment was made in 2013 and was billed at $2,000.00.

So then, the Beneficiaries want to know who are the lawyers that collected $49,170 during 2015 to 2016 and for what. They are not of the opinion that BNTU’S and PSU’S legal fees should be paid from the TRUST. If any legal fees should have been paid from the TRUST, it should be that of the Beneficiaries who are the legitimate owners of the TRUST.

President Smith bluntly stated that the BNTU is not benefiting from the TRUST, yet BNTU charges $24,405 annually for rent. Union Officers have received $468,630 in personal loans. Are these loans performing? Guardian has learnt in August of 2014, one Darius Avila was paid $10,350 and an Inn in Placencia paid $18,519. Were the Unions partying out the TRUST’S funds?

Quite interestingly, the 2015 comparative figures are for a period of 15 months. This suggest that the 2015 audit also covered October to December 2014. Question to Palacio et al, who verified the data up to September 2014, and then did Baker Tilly Hulse qualify the 2015 audit report? Why was 2014 not audited. If these concerns are obvious at just a cursory glance, what can be unearthed under detail scrutiny?

Recently two very vocal members of the beneficiaries have been bringing on the heat on Senator Smith and the BNTU. Empathy for the beneficiaries have also been catching fire on Face Book and with the general public. In an effort to distract the growing support for the beneficiaries, Senator Smith has tried to turn the attention back to BNTU’S dispute with GOB. She has made utterances and threats of strike that have not seem to have gone down well with the public. She is very close to over playing her hand.

Ms. Sheila Gennity and Ruth Nurse White, in the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t give up the fight.”