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Sis Pat: News blew issue out of proportion

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Editor: We, the concerned staff of St. Joseph’s Convent, Marriaqua, wish to express our disappointment and regret over the unfortunate misrepresentation of an issue relating to non-payment of two teachers at our school. {{more}}

We refer to the article entitled: No Pay? Secondary School Teachers Not Paid, appearing on the front page of The News newspaper of Friday March 11, 2005. Not only was the headline of the article misleading, but also the article itself did not serve so much to represent our problem, as to forward some sort of unrelated, political agenda.

We would therefore like to distance ourselves from the ‘spin’ placed by The News newspaper on the issue of salary non-payment.

First of all, the school in no way blames the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the non-payment of salary to two of our teachers. We have enjoyed an exceptional relationship with the present administration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines thus far, and are sorry for any misunderstanding, which could lead people to believe otherwise.

Further, we would like to make it known that we are in no way “making mischief” or intentionally causing trouble. In fact, the mischief, in our opinion, was made by The News newspaper, which took our problem out of context by using it to further their own political ends.

The headline of the article was misleading, exaggerated and sensationalist – it made it seems as if this non-payment of salaries to teachers is a widespread conspiracy. This is not the case at all. There are only two teachers who have had trouble getting their salary. There will always be snags to any bureaucratic service. One of our teachers was merely articulating her displeasure over one such snag that seemed to have been indefinitely perpetuated.

What was intended as a cry against an injustice was taken by others and distorted into a political issue. There is a difference between speaking out against bureaucratic languor and apathy, and speaking out politically. The two are not related. A bureaucracy is only one part of, and not an embodiment of, a government.

Additionally, the writer of the article, in the very first paragraph, ties our problem to the issue of universal access to secondary education. We fail to see how the two issues are linked. The school has embraced the present government’s thrust towards universal access to secondary education whole-heartedly. In fact, one of the two teachers who is having problems receiving a salary is the area coordinator for the up-coming literacy campaign.

We stand behind the letter that was initially written and later used in The News newspaper article. We support the points made in that letter as truth and fact. There is nothing there that is fictional or misrepresented. It is the article from which we are distancing ourselves.

The lesson we can learn from this is the need for ALL employees within the public service to respect all citizens and to perform at the highest level of competence, as they would in the private sector. Only then can this country look forward to fulfilling its highest potential.

Sincerely,

The Concerned Staff of SJCM

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