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SVGTU outgoing president renews call for solidarity

SVGTU outgoing president renews call for solidarity


A renewed call for solidarity among teachers was made Wednesday, by persons addressing the 17th biennial convention of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU).{{more}}

The call was made by outgoing president Ronald Clarke, who made his final address in that position, following general elections which took place earlier this year, and saw him being replaced by Oswald Robinson.

Clarke told the gathering at the Central Leeward Secondary School, that it was time for teachers to get more involved in the running of the Union, and to start looking out for the collective body and not the individual.

“We have forgotten about the ‘we’ and the ‘us’; and we need to get back there, and I’m saying to us this morning that we need to put our union first.”

The outgoing president also said that the members should not allow politicians and political activists to divide the union.

“… Because at the end of the day, we will be looking out for ourselves; the SVGTU is one of the oldest workers organizations in this country, we have outlived all political parties that have come before, and we will outlive those that are present today.”

“We have not gotten any freebies from any political party; everything that we would have accomplished, we would have accomplished through hard work and dedication.”

Chief Education Officer Lou-Anne Gilchrist, who gave solidarity greetings on behalf of the Ministry of Education, congratulated the Union on the hosting of the convention, with the hope that the amiable relationship between the Union and the Ministry would continue; and that a high and constant level of integrity, good work ethic, professionalism, mutual understanding and respect, was expected from teachers.

“If we model good behavior; then those students under our care will also model good behavior. We are not to sit here as teachers and to say that our students are not toeing the line… we have to look at ourselves critically… if after doing this reflection we find our behavior is not acceptable, then we modify.”

President of the Public Service Union Cools Vanloo also brought a solidarity message from his organization. He congratulated the outgoing executive for the work it had done and indicated that the PSU was in full support of the SVGTU and looking forward to greater cooperation and solidarity with the incoming executive.

Motivational speaker Jules Ferdinand, who delivered the feature address, spoke on the theme “Building the future through quality education”, and reminded the teachers present that they are the ones who influence the lives of countless individuals.

Using illustrations of persons who were influenced and molded by teachers, Ferdinand challenged the teachers to among other things, focus on passion and innovation.

“We shape the next generation; and we will do so with pride. We will not think of what we get from teaching; but rather what we become by teaching. Our commitment to quality education will provide quality citizens, who will make us all proud.”(JJ)