In 2000, Mr Fitz Jones headed the union. Before his tenure as president, he held the status of a qualified assistant teacher (QAT). He was later elevated to Labour commissioner. Mr Oswald Robinson became the leader in 2000 and was promoted to head teacher soon after. The infamous Otto Sam followed in 2004. I can still hear the voices from below saying “donât bite the hands that feed youâ. He began as a QAT, became a graduate and head teacher during his stint. He no longer makes headline news in SVG. Joy Matthews made good use of her short tenure as president of the SVG Teachersâ Union (2006 – 2007). Before her role as president, she held the status of a QAT. She quickly made it to head teacher. Due to hiccups within the union, Sheldon Govia ended her reign. He was appointed as president in 2007. The statuses he held before and after his presidency mirror that of Ms Matthews. Mr Elvis Charles (2008-2009), in my opinion, is the most successful past Teachersâ Union president to date. He began his stint as a graduate teacher. However, he is a former parliamentary secretary and a former CEO of Housing and Land Development. This took him less than five years. Congratulations, sir! My good friend Mr Ron Clarke was appointed in the year 2010. Before his leadership role, he was also a QAT. He is currently the principal of a rural secondary school. In 2012, teachers decided to elect Mr Oswald Robinson as president again.
It is important to note that these individuals possess at least the minimum requirements for the positions they hold. However, what role did they play during their stints at the top of the Teachersâ Union? What role are they playing now? Whose interest did they represent? How many fingers do they show when they discuss teachersâ business â three or four fingers? Did they participate in the recent teachersâ strike? DID THEY SELL OUT? ULP supporters refused to participate in the recent strike; NDP supporters reflect on the three teachers that resigned last election and are still out of the service.
The recent strike or âso-called strikeâ has shown the division and weakness within the SVG Teacherâs Union. Several executive members of the Teachersâ Union ignored the strike. Teachers deserve better representation and as such, I propose we get rid of the entire executive board in the next Teachersâ Union election. Disloyal members must go; weak leaders must go! I hereby signal my intention to contest the next Teachersâ Union election. The late Mr Ray Laborde, during many of our conversations, would have admonished me to actively participate in our unionâs activities and provided me with much needed information. My new team will put teachersâ interests first and act independent of any other institution, but collaborate and compromise to enhance the teaching profession.
My fellow teachers, statistics do not lie, but people can lie with statistics. Critically evaluate the information provided and make your own informed decisions about the role of the present Teachersâ Union and those we put in charge of our affairs. “MEN WHO ARE NOTHING, WHO ASPIRE TO BE NOTHING, WILL ALWAYS BE NOTHING.â
Dedicated to the late Ray Laborde. May his soul rest in peace.
Vanrick D Williams