On Sunday, August 2, the NYENON-BARLUE TEAM & CHAIRMAN GAYE presented to the GGAA National Board’s Panel of Investigators, a conbined written petition/complaint, classified as a ‘CLASS-ACTION SUIT’ against the Deah Administration.
The Deah Administration then filed a verbal counter claims to the GGAA National Board’s Panel of Investigators, headed Mr. Kai Matthew Whyee, then went into the deliberation and came down with the following verdict after an eight hour marathon hearing.
For the benefit of our readership, the Editorial Board of the Independent Eye News (IEN), elected to publish verbatim, unedited the full text of the National Board Panel’s ruling. Below is the full text.
“Report from the
Investigations by the GGAA Board’s Panel of Investigators
Into the complaints against the Minnesota
Chapter President, Hon Alec Deah and the Elections Commission of the Chapter
Held in Golden Valley, Minnesota
August 2, 2015
On Sunday, August 26, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Grand Gedeh Associations in the Americas, Inc., (GGAA) convened a special session of the Board to discuss the letter from the National President, His Excellency, Fred Tarlue Gwyan.
In the letter addressed to the National Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hon. Joe Dweh, the President requested the Board to intervene and investigate the complaints brought against the Elections Commission of the Minnesota Chapter and the local Administration headed by Hon Alec Deah as President.
The complaints were a class action suit sponsored by Hon. Taryon Nyenon and the local Board Chairman, Hon Alex Gaye.
Following lengthy discussions on the matter, members of the Board of Directors unanimously voted to intervene and investigate the case in order to bring about an amicable resolution to the matter.
The Chairman, Hon. Joe Dweh informed the Board that he was heading the high-powered Board’s Panel of investigators to Minnesota to conduct the investigations.
However, in the interest of cost minimization, members of the Board advised the Chairman to appoint a panel of three board members from chapters closer to Minnesota.
Following the decision that was reached through the votes of all members of the board present, the chairman immediately proceeded to appoint the following members:
Hon. Kai-Matthew Whyee——Chairman
Moses Teah ———————-Co-Chairman
Nelson Gaye Wright ————Gen. Secretary
Due to some pressing issues that demanded his immediate attention in his chapter at the time, Hon. Moses Teah could not make the trip. Hon. Whyee and Hon. Wright departed for Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday, August 2, 2015.
Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas National Board Panel of Investigators
Proceedings held on Sunday, August 2, 2015
Venue: 1710 Douglas Drive, Golden Valley, MN 55422
Session called to order at 5:27 P.M. by the GGAA National Board Panel of Investigators’ Chairman, Honorable Kai-Matthew Whyee.
Reading of Agenda
- Opening Prayer
- Opening Remarks by Hon. Whyee, Chairman of the Panel of Investigators
- Introductions of the Opposing Parties
- Opening statement by the complainants/plaintiffs
- Opening Statement by the Defendants/Respondents
- Examinations and Cross Examinations
- Recess and Deliberations
- Special Closing Remarks by the Opposing Parties
- Announcement of Ruling
- Closing Prayer
- Adjournment of Session
- Opening Prayer: Offered by Pastor Moses Taye
- Opening Remarks by Chairman Kai-Matthew Whyee
Chairman Whyee began his remarks by introducing the following people as members of the Panel of Investigators:
Honorable Nelson Gaye Wright, Secretary of the Panel
- Honorable Moses Teah, Co-Chairman of the Panel
Chairman Whyee then welcomed all Grand Gedehians in Minnesota to the session. He specifically singled out the Elder Council of the GGAA-MN Chapter for taking time off their busy schedules to participate in the proceedings.
He commended both parties to the conflict for mobilizing the Grand Gedeh Community in Minnesota to be in full attendance.
He encouraged all Grand Gedehians in attendance to actively participate in the process, but urged them to be civil so as to not disrupt the proceedings.
He reminded all in attendance that it was important for Grand Gedehians to learn to put aside their differences and work for the common good of the county.
Reading the letter that gave the Panel the mandate to investigate the complaints from the Nyenon-Barlue Presidential and Vice Presidential Team and Honorable Alex Gaye, Chairman Whyee told the attendees and the parties to the conflicts that the Panel’s mandate included the following:
- Conduct an investigation into the two formal complaints brought against the Deah Administration by Hon. Alex Gaye, Chairman, Board of Directors, GGAA-MN Chapter, and the Nyenon-Barlue Presidential and Vice Presidential Team.
- Amicably resolve the disputes between the two parties, and
- The discretionary authority to do whatever that is legally possible to resolve the disputes.
Concluding his remarks, Chairman Whyee asked members of the Elder Council and some former leaders of the GGAA-MN Chapter in attendance, to actively follow the proceedings.
According to him, while it was true that the Panel was able to resolve the disputes, it was important to involve members of the chapter in the deliberations and resolution of the conflicts.
Their wisdom and inside knowledge of the chapter, Chairman Whyee said, were necessary for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the disputes.
Introductions of Parties in the Disputes
- The Complainants
The Complainants in the Disputes were represented by the Following People:
- Tarnyon Nyenon, of the Nyenon-Barlue Presidential & Vice Presidential Team
- Alex Gaye, Chairman, Board of Directors, GGAA, MN Chapter
- Arthur Kannah, former President, GGAA, MN Chapter
- Bobby Hilary Todey, Member, GGAA, MN Chapter
- The Respondents were Represented by the Following Administration Officials:
- Alec C. Deah, President, GGAA, MN Chapter
- Ronald Free, Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the Membership Committee
- Floyd George, Advisor to the President
- Elijah Sampson, Political Advisor to the President
- Opening Statement by the Complainants
Honorable Tarnyon Nyenon delivered the opening statement on behalf of the complainants. The complaints were predicated on four (4) major issues:
Disqualification of the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from Contesting in the upcoming 2015 GGAA-MN Chapter’s general elections.
- Imposition of seventy dollars ($70.00) membership dues as a precondition to exercising the right to vote.
- Imposition of an incomplete constitution on the chapter, and
- Declaration of all seven (7) seats on the chapter’s board vacant, even though the Board’s tenure is not due to expire until August of 2016.
- Disqualification of the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from Participating in the upcoming 2015 GGAA-MN Chapter’s General Elections
On the issue of the disqualification of the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from the electoral process, the complainants explained that the Elections Commission disqualified the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team on grounds that the candidate for the position of secretary, Ms. Vivian Wright, was not a member of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
Even though Ms. Wright might not have met the requirements to participate in the GGAA-MN Chapter’s general elections for 2015, the complainants argued, that alone should not be the reason to disqualify the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from the electoral process.
Imposition of the seventy ($70.00) Membership dues as a precondition to Exercising the Right to Vote
Arguing against the payment of the $70.00 one year membership dues, the complainants argued that all Grand Gedehians in Minnesota should be allowed to vote whether or not they pay the $70.00 one year membership dues.
While the complainants agreed that every member of the GGAA-MN Chapter should pay his or her membership dues in order to sustain the organization, they argued that due payments should never be tied to the right to vote.
The complainants claimed that voting is an inalienable right that cannot be given or withdrawn by anyone or group of people.
- Imposition of an Incomplete Constitution on the Chapter
Regarding the imposition of an incomplete constitution on the GGAA-MN Chapter, the complainants advanced the following arguments against the completeness of the constitution:
- Failure on the part of the administration to appoint a Constitution Review Commission to review the draft Constitution prior to its adoption by the General Body.
- The membership of the GGAA-MN Chapter was not given the opportunity to review the Constitution prior to its adoption.
- The Constitution did not contain the signatures of the Chapter’s President; the Chapter’s Chairman of the Board of Directors; the writers of the Constitution; and a signature of the National Board Chairman.
- Declaration of all seven (7) seats on the Chapter’s Board vacant, even though the Board’s tenure is not due to expire until August of 2016
On the question of the seven (7) seats that were declared vacant on the GGAA-MN Chapter’s Board, the complainants considered the declaration as unconstitutional.
According to their argument, the incumbent board members were elected under the Minnesota/Iowa Constitution. Under Article VI, Section (1), Clause (A) of said constitution, “Members of the Board of Directors shall serve for the period of three years.”
Given this provision, the complainants contended that whatever new constitution that might currently be in existence in the GGAA-MN Chapter could not in any way cut short the three-year term of the current board members.
The complainants ended their opening statement by asking the Panel of Investigators to invalidate all four (4) decisions that led to the complaints.
They also asked the Panel to appointment an interim administration to replace the Deah administration. According to them, the Deah administration had already exhausted its term and as such it had also lost its legitimacy to oversee the upcoming 2015 general elections.
- Opening Statement by the Respondents
In its own defense, the Deah administration countered all arguments raised by the complainants. On the disqualification of the entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from Contesting in the upcoming 2015 GGAA-MN Chapter’s general elections, the Deah administration claimed that the Nyenon-Barlue Team was given ample time to meet all the requirements set in the elections guidelines, but failed to do so.
According to the administration, even though the administration gave the Nyenon-Barlue Team an extra week to be able to produce a complete list of all qualified members on the team, Honorable Nyenon again failed to comply with the time extension.
As the administration put it, Honorable Nyenon’s decision to include Ms. Wright on the Nyenon-Barlue Team was a deliberate attempt on the part of Honorable Nyenon to derail the entire electoral process.
Honorable Nyenon, the respondents claimed, should have known those considered registered and non-registered members of the chapter.
Justifying its decision for the disqualification of the Nyenon-Barlue Team, the administration explained that its decision was based on the fact that the Nyenon-Barlue Team failed to meet all requirements set forth in the elections guidelines.
Responding to the seventy dollars ($70.00) one year membership due payments, the administration argued that organizations, no matter their size, need income in order to sustain themselves. The same is true for the GGAA-MN Chapter.
Making its case further on the $70.00 one year membership due payments, the administration explained that initially a two-year membership dues were required for members who for some reasons had not been able to pay their dues for the two years that Honorable Deah has been the President of the chapter.
Instead of requiring members to pay the two-year membership dues, the administration decided to waive a one year membership dues for all members of the GGAA MN Chapter, thereby requiring all members to pay only a year membership due.
On the question of whether its decision was intended to deprive the people of the GGAA-MN Chapter the right to vote, the administration refuted the claim put forward by the complainants.
In its argument, the administration explained that asking all members to meet their membership requirements to the organization could not be equated to disenfranchisement. Membership due payments, the administration concluded, was nothing new within the GGAA at both the national and local levels.
Concerning the Imposition of an Incomplete Constitution on the GGAA-MN Chapter, the administration denied imposing an incomplete constitution on the people of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
The administration claimed it set up a seven-member constitution committee to draft a new constitution for the GGAA-MN Chapter.
The constitution committee, the administration pointed out, was chaired by Honorable Tarnyon Nyenon, one of the principal complainants in this case. Upon the completion of the draft constitution, the administration asserted, the draft constitution was posted on a website associated with the GGAA-MN Chapter.
Members were then asked to visit this website so as to review the draft constitution and be able to provide comments. That way, the administration continued, the necessary changes or corrections would be made prior to the adoption of the draft constitution at a general meeting.
After the review process, the draft constitution was adopted by the General Body on November 23rd, 2014. Ironically, the administration said, it was baffled to see Honorable Nyenon challenge the completeness of the very constitution which he helped to write.
On the issue of abruptly ending the three-year term of the seven members of the GGAA-MN Chapter’s Board of Directors, the administration argued that the new GGAA-MN Chapter’s Constitution provides for a two-year term for board members.
As a consequence, the constitutional provision under the Minnesota/Iowa Constitution which grants the incumbent board members a three-year term was invalidated by the new GGAA-MN Chapter’s Constitution.
- Examinations and Cross Examinations
Both parties traded questions and also produced witnesses. However, a key witness (Mr. Dorbor Kannah) for the complainants was disqualified on grounds that he is a registered member of the GGAA-North Dakota Chapter.
Honorable Kamaty Diahn and Honorable Dusty Kaine, both statesmen within the Grand Gedeh Community in Minnesota, declined to testify as character witnesses for the Deah administration.
According to the two statesmen, they did not want to be seen as taking sides by either party. As they put it, they would rather work with the Panel of Investigators to find a peaceful and lasting resolution to the conflicts.
- Recess and Deliberations
After the opening statements, examinations, and cross examinations by both parties, the Chairman, Honorable Kai Matthew Whyee announced that the Panel was taking an hour recess.
The recess period, Honorable Whyee told the attendees, would be used for deliberations. He invited the following prominent members of the GGAA-MN Chapter to take part in the deliberations:
- Vo-oryonnoh Wilkins, Leader of the Elder Council, GGAA-MN Chapter
- Elder Gordon Miller
- Elder Sampson Diahn
- Elder William Youlo
- Elder Roland Pour
- Elder Jerry Zeah
- Dusty Kaine
- Kamaty Diahn
After a careful analysis of all the arguments presented on both sides, the eleven (11) members participating in the deliberations unanimously reached the following decisions on all four issues raised by the complainants:
- Disqualification of the Entire Nyenon-Barlue Team from Contesting in the Upcoming 2015 GGAA-MN Chapter’s General Elections
On this issue, all eleven members agreed that the Nyenon-Barlue Team should be reinstated into the electoral process. However, for Ms. Vivian Wright to be qualified to run on the Nyenon-Barlue Team in the upcoming 2015 GGAA-MN Chapter’s General Elections, she will have to first renounce her membership with any other GGAA Chapter with which she is currently registered.
A letter declaring her membership renouncement to that effect, as well as a letter accepting said renouncement has to be produced to the Elections Commission of the GGAA-MN Chapter. Once Ms. Wright completes this process, she should be allowed back on the Nyenon-Barlue Team.
- Imposition of the Seventy Dollars ($70.00) Membership Dues as a Precondition to Exercising the Right to Vote
On the issue of the $70.00 membership due payments for one year, all members agreed that the one year back due payments for all members of the GGAA-MN Chapter should be paid.
However, this decision does not apply to members who are just registering for their first time with the GGAA-MN Chapter. In other words, such members may be required to pay membership dues starting from when they became members of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
It is also the decision of all eleven members that asking members to pay a year membership dues cannot be equated to depriving members of their right to vote. Membership due payments is not a policy that is unique to the GGAA-MN Chapter. It is a policy that is implemented at all levels of the GGAA.
Lastly, the notion that all Grand Gedehians are members of the GGAA-MN Chapter is misleading. Being a Grand Gedehian does not grant one an automatic membership.
One has to meet all the membership requirements in order for one to be considered a registered member of the GGAA-MN Chapter. One of such requirements therefore, is paying all membership dues.
III Imposition of an Incomplete Constitution on the GGAA-MN Chapter
Concerning the question of the imposition of an incomplete constitution, all eleven members were in agreement that the constitution was incomplete.
Nevertheless, the constitution should not be nullified as demanded by the complainants in this case. On the other hand, to be considered complete, the following requirements should be met:
- A constitution review committee should be set up to review the constitution so as to make the necessary corrections, including, but not limited to grammatical errors.
- A hard copy of the constitution should be produced so as to contain the signatures of all those who wrote it and reviewed it.
- It should contain the signature of the GGAA-MN Board Chairman.
- A copy of said constitution should be sent over to the GGAA National Board for its record.
- Declaration of all Seven (7) Seats on the GGAA-MN Chapter Board Vacant
All eleven members agreed that all seven members on the board of directors should be allowed to complete their three-year term, as provided for under the GGAA-Minnesota/Iowa Chapter.
Given the current GGAA-MN Chapter’s Constitution was complete; its provision for the two-year term for board membership could still not be applied to current board members.
Put another way, the provision for the two-year term for board membership will only take effect when the current board’s term shall have ended in August of 2016.
- Special Closing Remarks by the Opposing Parties
Before announcing the Panel’s decisions, Chairman Kai Matthew Whyee asked all parties involved in the conflicts to deliver a statement of commitment in light of the decisions. On that note, Honorable Alex Gaye took the stand and thanked all Grand Gedehians for attending the proceedings.
He said he and his team were for peace and their intention had never been to divide the GGAA-MN Chapter. As a result, he promised he and his team would accept whatever decision the Panel handed down.
Speaking on behalf of the administration, Honorable Alec Deah also thanked all those attending the proceedings. He said it was important for all Grand Gedehians to be actively involved with the day-to-day activities of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
He said he and his administration were for peace and as such, were ready to work with all Grand Gedehians within the GGAA-MN Chapter to advance the interests of the association.
- Announcement of the Ruling
Announcing the decisions, Chairman Whyee told the parties that the decisions reached were based on what is in the best interest of the GGAA-MN Chapter. Everyone, Chairman Whyee urged the parties, had to be willing to give up something for the unity of the Chapter.
To be able to forge ahead, Chairman Whyee continued, Grand Gedehians everywhere should stop the bickering and put the interests of Grand Gedeh above self-interests.
With that, he announced the following rulings:
- Reinstatement of the Nyenon-Barlue Team.
- A one year $70.00 membership due payments by all members of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
- However, the one year back due payment does not apply to newly registered members. Newly registered members will only pay membership dues covering the period from when they became a registered member of the GGAA-MN Chapter.
- The newly adopted GGAA-MN Chapter’s Constitution is incomplete. Notwithstanding, it shall stand as the Chapter’s Constitution provided it meets the four conditions already outlined in these meeting’s minutes.
- All seven board members of the GGAA-MN Chapter shall be allowed to exhaust their three-year term as provided for under the GGAA-MN/Iowa Chapter’s Constitution.
- The two-year term for board membership under the new GGAA-MN Chapter’s Constitution takes effect only after the current board’s term shall have ended in August of 2016.
- Singing of the National Anthem and Closing Prayer.
The Closing Prayer was offered by Comfort Wilson.
There being no further proceedings, Chairman Kai Matthew Whyee declared the session adjourned.
Session adjourned at 12:10 Mid-night.
Respectfully submitted by the office of the Secretariat,
Hon. Nelson Gaye Wright
Hon. Kai Matthew Whyee, Chairman
Browne O. Jayee