Bacchanal in NPTA executive election

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Bacchanal in NPTA executive election

The executive elections of the National Parent-­Teacher Association (NPTA) is currently underway and tensions are high as some members are reportedly not being allowed to vote.

The election, to decide on a new president and other national exe­cutives, is currently underway at the Valencia Secondary School. having started at 10 a.m. and it is due to end at 3 p.m.

Speaking at a news conference in Port of Spain yesterday, head of the Concerned Parents Movement of Trinidad and Tobago (CPMTT) and former NPTA first vice-president Clarence Mendoza slammed the interim NPTA executive for debarring scores of members from voting ­today.

He said today’s election process would not be free and fair and he pointed to the region of Victoria, where 19 parents, 12 coordinators and two schools, who were up-to-date with NPTA fees, were barred from partici­pating in today’s election.

Mendoza added that seven schools from the Caroni region, as well as members of the South-Eastern region were “completely debarred”.
He said despite him and other members not being permitted to vote today, they will be showing up at the venue.

He also raised concerns about $250,000 in subventions that the organisation receives from the Ministry of Education.

“We are asking again: where are the financials going into this election?… no secretarial report, no financial report, but we are saying we are going to have an election,” he said.

However, in an interview with the Trinidad Express, interim NPTA president Zena Ramatali said: “…it is Mr Mendoza who filed an injunction against the organisation in 2020 and then discontinued it and had to pay the costs. So the organisation had no choice but to use its funds to defend itself. However, when he pays the costs, the ­organisation would recover the funds it would have used to defend itself.”

Ramatali, on the issue of members being debarred from voting, quoted Article 5 of the NPTA constitution, which noted that only bona fide member units of the NPTA are eligible to participate in business meetings.

“The last time we were getting ready for an election, it was supposed to be held in 2019, but an injunction was filed by Mr Mendoza that halted the election. So this list of bona fide members who are financial from 2018 to 2019 is who, according to this constitution, can participate in this election. Nobody after that date is eligible because this is the last time that the organisation had any collections with a transparent receipt that we can account for from our member units.

“Anything that would have come after, it did not have a national execu­tive in place,” she explained.

She said only regional elected officers are eligible to be nominated for national positions today.

She told the media house that Mendoza was not an elected regional officer, so is not ­allowed to vote.