SVGTU not happy with treatment of school head
January 22, 2013
SVGTU not happy with treatment of school head

Former president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), Ronald Clarke, is quiet about his latest appointment, which the union says compromises his integrity.{{more}}

The union has also criticized the Ministry of Education for what the union says is a failure to honour their collective agreement.

In a January 17 press release, the SVGTU expressed its “disappointment with the treatment meted out to the former Acting Principal of the Georgetown Secondary School, Mr. Allen Burnett”.

Burnett was not appointed principal at the school after acting in that capacity since August 2010, the union said.

Instead, Clarke was appointed principal of the institution, a move the union criticised in a January 18 release.

Burnett was transferred to the Student Support Centre in Kingstown, a school that caters for slow learners and delinquent students, where he is working as a psychologist.

Public Relations Officer of the union Vibert Lampkin, told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that Clarke knew that the union was lobbying with the ministry to have Burnett appointed head of the Georgetown secondary school, and should not have accepted the position.

“Prior to his (Burnett) transfer, we from the union … have been lobbying the Ministry of Education to appoint him principal, and we … have done so on several occasions,” Lampkin said.

“In fact our last discussion we had on that matter [was] in December, when we had also indicated that Mr Burnett was acting for over two years in that position. We felt that, according to that collective agreement, which is article 28.1, … no person should be acting for longer than one year and he should have been appointed after he had acted for a year.

“He (Clarke) shouldn’t have accepted the position, because it throws the union in a bad light,” Lampkin added.

“We … have on several occasion made representation on behalf of Mr Burnett for that school, and we do not want it to appear that the union is trying to defraud its members from any position they want to hold.

“Our mandate is to represent our members, to defend their rights and also to ensure that they get their benefits. And, in this particular case, it may not have appeared as if the union actually work on Mr Burnett’s behalf if you have an executive member, albeit a past president, who … have gone and accepted the position as principal of the school, knowing full well that Mr Burnett is the one that we were representing to be principal at that school.”

Lampkin also informed SEARCHLIGHT that Clarke, who was the Immediate Past President, resigned his executive position on the day he was to take up duties at the Georgetown Secondary School.

Clarke, who last taught at the New Adelphi Secondary School, remains a member of the union.

Lampkin said failing to appoint Burnett is another example of the ministry’s “blatant” violation of the collective agreement signed in November 2005.

He said that despite this latest development, the union will continue to work on behalf of its members.

“We will continue to let our members know that the union is not in collusion with anyone. We stand on principle, and our principle is that as long as you are a member of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers union we would continue to defend your rights and we would continue to ensure that the benefits that you deserve come your way.

“We would continue to continue to voice our strong and serious disappointment in the way in which the matter was handled.”

When SEARCHLIGHT called Clarke at the Georgetown Secondary School, he said he was not willing to comment on the issue.