Letters to the Editor

Bartlett still smoldering over being evicted from seniors’ club

On Sept 12, 2023, I went to Gander to attend the NL 50 Plus Federation 46th Annual Convention, as I have for many years to meet friends from around the province, learn about things that other clubs were doing, and to ask questions of the presenters.

When we went to register, everybody on the board who saw us coming would walk away, and wouldn’t talk to us, people we knew for years. I knew then something was wrong.

When Robert Rogers, the president, opened the convention on Wednesday, the first thing he said was only the people who were voting delegates could ask questions or make comments.

Every delegate there paid a registration fee of $75, up $25 from last year. There were 300 delegates present, more than 200 of whom couldn’t open their mouths. There was a line of flags on back of the podium. The president explained what they were. When I got a break I made a statement to the president that I had a stepdad who went overseas in the last war under that flag, also two uncles, one of whom didn’t return, because he gave his life fighting a dictator so I would have freedom of speech. He died in vain because Robert Rogers, the President of the NL 50 + Federation wouldn’t allow us to speak. His statement to me was his lawyer advised him “not to talk to you.” What am I a criminal?

It cost me and my partner $950 to attend the convention not knowing we would not be allowed to ask a question. Apparently 200 + members who paid a lot of money to attend their annual convention were not told this, or me and a lot more would not have wasted our money to sit on our chairs like a bunch of zombies.

On Thursday, Sept. 14 at 2:30 p.m. there was an agenda item: “Concerns of Clubs.”

The main reason I went to the convention was because of a problem I had when I was 1st Vice President of the Worsley Park 50+ Club, when at a secret meeting of the board I was voted out as V.P. by Geraldine Weir, President, and six the board members (6), in the presence of Elaine Hutchings, Director Area 1 Avalon with the NL 50+ Federation, who stood side by side with Ms. Weir when it was announced that I was no longer V.P.  I was elected by 44 members at the AGM on May 4, 2022, and put out by six. There was never an explanation of why I was fired, and I could not have access to the minutes. I wasn’t given a right to speak at a later meeting of the club.

When I went to President Rogers and the board to help straighten this out, no one had the courtesy to even reply to my emails.

When the agenda item “Concerns of Clubs” was open to the floor, I attempted to speak and was ordered by Robert Rogers to leave the room. I went back to my seat and sat down. The President stormed off the podium after making the statement, “business is closed until this man is escorted from the room,” and ordered the security to evict me, which they did. So much for bringing it to the convention for debate. The rest is history.

I have spent 47 years of volunteer work all over this province, working for the people of this province and at 87 years I was treated with disrespect, humiliated, and bullied. Is that the thanks I get?

To the 50+ clubs that affiliate with the federation, I know many of you were shocked at what happened. This is the first time ever members were not allowed to speak. You will have to consider if you still want to belong to an organization that’s yours but have no say in how it’s run. Many of us living on borrowed time. Where is the compassion, the kindness and respect everyone is talking about? We are the people who built this province. Think about the fighting Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who went overseas in the two World Wars and gave their lives for the so-called freedom we have today. Was it all in vain?

Wilfred Bartlett, Senior Citizen


Conception Bay South

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