Grant takes over as BPSU general secretary

  • Former president: Kevin Grant

    Former president: Kevin Grant

  • Into retirement: Edward Ball Jr

    Into retirement: Edward Ball Jr

A string of new appointments have been announced by the Bermuda Public Services Union.

Edward Ball, the general secretary for 23 years, is to become a consultant and Kevin Grant, a former union president, who was made general secretary designate last Thursday, will take over the role.

Lloyquita Symonds promoted to assistant general secretary and Joan Wagacha made treasurer.

Mr Ball became a shop steward for the BPSU in 1980, and served as chairman for the hospitals division.

He was elected president of the union in 1988, became assistant general secretary in 1990, and succeeded Eugene Blakeney as general secretary in 1997.

Mr Ball has served on the Bermuda Economic Forum, the Base Lands Development Corporation, the Bermuda Labour Reform Committee and the immigration board.

He was also a member of the drafting team for workers on the Employment Act 2000.

Mr Grant became a BPSU shop steward for the Department of Planning in 1994 and later joined the union’s leadership development programme. He was also an executive on its youth committee.

He became third vice-president in 2005, first vice-president in 2008, and served as president from 2011 to 2014.

Mr Grant was credited with the forging of closer links between the BPSU and the Bermuda Industrial Union, which joined the Bermuda Trade Union Congress in 2012.

He took part in negotiations between the BTUC and the Bermuda Government in 2013, and was “instrumental” in drawing up the union’s memorandum of understanding on furlough days. He was appointed assistant general secretary in 2016 — a position later renamed labour relations adviser — and certified in labour relations at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, followed by a designation from the Chartered Management Institute in 2019.

Mr Grant’s service on government boards includes the immigration board, the Labour Advisory Committee, the Joint Grading Panel, GEHI Management Committee, Public Service Superannuation Board, and the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s compensation governance committee.

Ms Symonds has served as labour relations adviser since April, and has a background as a shop steward.

She sat on the BPSU executive committee as the recording secretary, first vice-president and is the immediate past president. Ms Symonds was trained in collective bargaining and parliamentary procedure at the Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women at the University of Connecticut.

She researched and presented on the topics of privatisation, good governance, collective bargaining and trade union renewal through Public Services International, a global union federation.

Ms Symonds earned a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers.

Ms Symonds worked for 16 years as a social worker in the prison system and in 2005 received the BPSU delegates’ award for professionalism and the advancement of workers’ rights.

She is also an alumnus of the Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders Dialogue.

Ms Wagacha, as treasurer, will also steer the BPSU’s finance committee and manage the union’s office.

Ms Wagacha holds a degree in quantitative economics from the University of Nairobi, and is a Certified Public Accountant from Strathmore University in Kenya, and in the United States with the California Board of Accountancy.

She is also a trust and estates practitioner, and holds a diploma in international trust management from the University of Manchester in the UK.

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Published Oct 7, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 7, 2020 at 7:24 am)

Grant takes over as BPSU general secretary

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