Teachers received slap from Government says Convention Speaker
Featured Speaker - Ronnie Daniel
April 12, 2024

Teachers received slap from Government says Convention Speaker

The way in which the State dealt with teachers in 2021 was “a big slap in the face”, said Ronnie Daniel at the 23rd Biennial Convention of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), held last Thursday, April 11, 2024 at the SVG Mission of SDA Conference Hall.

He said that he was happy when union leaders “took the State to task” and he anxiously awaits the outcome.

Daniel, was one of two main speakers at the Convention at which the new executive of the union was installed. “There will be tensions, there will be issues, but we have to work them out, and I didn’t think a chance was given in 2021,” said Daniel, who is employed at the UWI Open Campus in SVG, adding “when you consider what happened in 2001, teachers, public servants, police officers, nurses, they were the champions of changes in 2001…twenty years after, the coin is flipped.”

The Auxiliary preacher in the Methodist Church, referenced the 1999 protest with the Catholic Church and teachers under the New Democratic Party regime.

He noted that the Catholic Church marched around Kingstown, on the simple issue of the State paying teachers who were employed at government-assisted schools.

“…and they quietly marched around Kingstown, no confrontation, no violence, no loud shouting, and in 2001 when the administration changed, the government had no choice because, of course its prominent leader was in front, and the government had no choice but to make the commitment of paying teachers in the assisted secondary schools,” Daniel noted.

“That is the political climate that allows for effective change”, he said.

Not down playing that there are persons who would want to be confrontational he, however, commented, “that would be the old approach…being quiet but having powerful actions could make a change”.

Daniel said it is up to teachers to decide on the society they want for the future, otherwise the union will not see any progress in some of their polices.

He also encouraged the audience to think of the society they would want to leave for their children, which should be one of compassion and caring.

He added that if teachers want to see a change in the society, they cannot be dependent on the government.

“Government is doing their thing, but government is also thinking of another five years.”

At the convention which was held under the theme ‘Meeting the Challenges for the Future with Solutions that Strengthen Education and Trade Unionism’, Daniel gave his explanation of what good policy should entail.

“Good policy cannot end with bread being taken from teachers and public servants or from any citizen at all…good public policy has to enhance, has to build up, and has to make citizens better off.”

The union’s election committee and Trustees installed the new executive into office for the next two years.

The SVGTU held its general elections on February 27 and 28,2024, with Oswald Robinson securing his 7th consecutive term as president.

The team to serve from 2024-2026 is headed by president, Oswald Robinson; 1st vice president, Vanrick Williams; 2nd vice president, Yokanne Blugh-Holder; general secretary, Ketty Kydd-Rhynd; assistant general secretary, Tishanna Reid; Treasurer, Meriah Samuel; Public Relations Officer, Fiona Charles; and committee members, Anthony Compton and Reba Cozier.