September 3, 2010
Teachers’ Union condemns actions of the government

The St.Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union has expressed its dissatisfaction with the transfer of its former president Otto Sam.{{more}}

“The SVGTU condemns the government’s action in transferring educator Otto Sam out of the Education system to NEMO (The National Emergency Management Organization),” said the Union in a press statement dated August 30.

The Union further stated that it is concerned about the “unfortunate, excessive action” taken against Sam.

To this end, the Union described his transfer as “unexplainable”, adding that the fields of Education and Disaster Management are now “poorer” because of the situation.

“Mr. Sam has been trained in Education at the Post Graduate level and has absolutely no training in Disaster Management. Thus his loss to Education will impact negatively on the system while his lack of training in Disaster Management makes him a liability to NEMO,” said the Union.

The Union noted that the transfer violates 25.1 of the Collective Agreement between the government and the Teachers Union. According to a Union official, Section 25.1 states that the Union recognizes the fact that employees are subject to transfer, but the employer agrees that teachers should be placed as close as possible to their homes.

On this note, the Union called on the government to reconsider its action and reinstate Sam to Education.

Sam received a letter on Tuesday, August 17, instructing him to report for work at NEMO from Monday, August 23.

Sam’s transfer came on the heels of a letter written by Sam to the Prime Minister, which noted that when the Prime Minister visited the South Rivers Methodist School where Sam was Headteacher earlier this year, he did not follow protocol. Following this move by Sam, Chief Education Officer Louann Gilchrist wrote a letter to Sam demanding a written apology. Sam declined to issue the apology. He was subsequently transferred.