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Focus on issues about teaching, not on Joy Matthews



Editor: Last December I quietly allowed you to take your pound of flesh, all in the interest of an organization I have grown to love and one which is bigger than all of us. I now realize that you didn’t quite take your full quota, so you are demanding the remaining ounces. I regret to disappoint you, but these ounces will not be given as quietly.{{more}}

The last time I checked, I am a member of SVGTU, unless my membership was revoked unknowingly.

I read with interest moves to remove me from the National Labor Congress (NLC) Executive. this was addressed to me in a letter dated May 12, 2009. As indicated earlier, I am a financial member of a trade union which gives me the right, if elected, to serve on the Executive of the Congress. The Congress is not a Committee so that I can be removed by the whims and fancies of some individuals who presumably I have wronged. I was elected by the members of the Congress as the General Secretary, not nominated. I am the General Secretary of the NLC, not SVGTU’s representative. Did you consult the constitution?

Then again, the constitution means nothing to some members of the SVGTU, as they are in the habit of raping organizations’ constitutions. A glaring example is the blatant disregard for Article 4.4.4, which specifically outlines how a member of the National Executive may be removed.

It was because of the NLC why I was supposedly removed from office. So you are about to defy the laws of Science and show that lightening does strike the same place twice.

Is it that the leadership lacks the intellectual capacity to effectively deal with the issues affecting the education system in these trying economic times, so as a cover they develop this fixation in attacking Joy Matthews? There are more pressing issues that the Union needs to address, rather than to harp on these trivial matters.

Why not try these for a change:

  • Develop strategies to restore the credibility of SVGTU, for too many of our teachers are disillusioned with the Union’s present functioning.
  •  Transform the deafening silence that greeted the saga at the Kingstown Preparatory School into action and effectively represent the member.
  •  Research and evaluate the impact the current economic situation will have on the negotiations of the 6th Collective Agreement, or is this of no concern, for as you forcibly stated, we do not have an economic crisis in SVG (such ignorance).
  •  The Union’s position on the impending Inspection of Schools and its impact on the teaching profession.
  •  The ripple effect, if any, of the current St. Lucia Teachers’ Saga.
  •  Correct the nonchalant attitude shown to the teachers of the West St. George Secondary school in their time of mourning.
  •  Securing the pension rights of teachers during this final period of constitutional reform by being actively involved in the process.
  •  Make provision as it relates to pension and gratuity for those teachers who because of certain legitimate situations / circumstances have to leave the service prematurely without their benefits after giving yeoman service to the state.
  •  Review the Union’s current position on reclassification and stop making it the laughing stock of learned trade unionists here and in the region.
  •  Revisit the loose decision not to meet with the Prime Minister so that the Governor General can respond to your letter; remember the Governor General acts on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  •  Ensure that unqualified teachers in the system capitalize on the once in a life time opportunity to qualify themselves.
  •  What about the concerns of the teachers at the community college?
  •  The legitimacy of the present leadership that is causing Primary School Principals who are our most vibrant members to seriously reconsider future participation in the union’s activities.
  •  Explain to the public why there wasn’t a quorum at the general meeting to elect a new president. Were the forty two (42) persons absent?
  •  Research how the ILO works.

My learned colleagues, I chose not to give my side of the story because I did not want SVGTU to be seen in the light of what transpired. Based on the situation then, it was better for me not to function in that capacity with persons whose agenda was not in the best interest of the organization. When sober thinking is not appreciated and welcomed, you know that you are in the wrong company.

Joy Matthews