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SVGTU: Reinstate Teachers who contested 2010 General Elections

SVGTU: Reinstate Teachers who contested 2010 General Elections

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The St.Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) has called on the Government to re-employ three teachers who contested the December 13, 2010, General Elections on the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) ticket.{{more}}

In an interview on Wednesday, March 9, the Union’s Public Relations Officer Vibert Lampkin said the trade union is making the call based on the Collective Agreement that was signed between the Government and the Teachers’ Union in 2005. He said that was the fourth Collective Agreement.

“In that Collective Agreement, there is a particular clause, Clause 16, which deals with Elections Leave. …In that clause it states that teachers who are members of the Teachers’ Union for three years onwards and are pursuing to be part of a political organization to contest General Elections, that they be allowed to do so and if they are not successful that they be reinstated.

“In fact it went on to say that they should be reinstated at the beginning of the following term of the school year,” said Lampkin.

The PRO said following the elections, Elvis Daniel, Kenroy Johnson and Addison Thomas indicated to the Union their interest in returning to the classroom.

He said the men had to resign because under the Constitution, one cannot be a public servant and contest a General Elections.

Lampkin said the Union understands all the issues surrounding the matter including the fact that no law nor Collective Agreement can supersede the Constitution of the State.

He disclosed that a letter was sent to Chief Personnel Officer Tyrone Burke in January giving the position of the Union on the matter and which called on the Government to have the teachers reinstated.

He added that the matter was also discussed with the Prime Minister during a meeting to discuss the National Budget for 2011, and they were told that the matter lies in the hands of the Public Service Commission.

Lampkin said to date there has been no response from the Chief Personnel Officer, and the Union is uncertain why it is taking this long to hear from Burke about whether the teachers will be reinstated.

He said the teachers have given many years of service to the teaching profession and the Union believes they have more to contribute.

When contacted on Wednesday afternoon, Burke said he is aware that the matter has taken a “little while”, but said he had to seek legal guidance on it.

He disclosed that during this week he issued a response to the Union, but was unsure whether it had been mailed.

Burke declined to disclose the contents of the letter.

Meanwhile, when asked whether Curtis Bowman, a pharmacist, who worked in the Ministry of Health, had been re-employed, Burke said he was not aware of that.

Bowman resigned from the public service when he contested the Marriaqua seat for the NDP. Last Wednesday evening, when contacted, Bowman refuted claims that had been made that he had been reemployed by the Government.

He said on February 7, 2011, he received a letter from Burke (Ref. Ps 9897), in response to his request for reinstatement, which stated “there is no vacancy at this time to which you can be appointed”.