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Reinstatement of the NDP teachers

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Tue, Aug 09, 2010

Editor: As the author of the Collective Agreement between Government and SVGTU, I have listened to the debate on the issues involving the rehiring of the three teachers who contested the election for the NDP.{{more}}

I wish to make the case for their re-employment, based on the Agreement and the fact that they have satisfied the six months leave of absence from December 2010 to May 2011.

First, this is not a constitutional issue; it was negotiated in the spirit of building a Caribbean civilization, and all the parties in the negotiation agreed that the state must not punish its citizens for aspiring to serve the nation at a high level.

Furthermore, it was recognized that the absence of such a clause will deprive ordinary Vincentians from aspiring to make a contribution at the high political level. We struggled in the past against the elite property class, as the only group of persons deemed eligible to be elected to the legislative council, and sixty years later, we are going back full circle, with only the legal fraternity or business elite being eligible to run for political office, due to their financial independence. In our developing democracy, all avenues must remain open for ordinary citizens to participate in the electoral process without putting their families on the breadline.

In addition, we have to debunk the myth that aspiring politicians receive tons of money from their respective political parties; it will lessen the pressure on our budding politicians if the populace realizes that they too are making a huge financial and personal sacrifice to enter politics.

Moreover, acceptance and implementation of such a policy by the ULP (Unity Labour Party) will further strengthen the ULP’s claim that it is serious about building a Caribbean civilization based on tolerance and acceptance of divergent views. The reinstatement of the teachers will demonstrate once again that the SVGTU is a worthwhile partner in Education and that teachers can trust any agreement signed with this government.

We have to continue to push the political extremists in the union/society to a point where people will continue to ridicule their backward position. This Government must continue to claim the high moral ground on this issue, as it was rumored that NDP had a list of ULP political activists to be fired or transferred. Our people must see that the ULP is of superior moral fibre.

Finally, both political parties and the SVGTU must negotiate comprehensive policy guidelines to govern the behaviour/utterances of such individuals entering politics, for such persons may wish to return to their public posts if they do not win their seats and their party loses the general elections. Our desire then was to get our politicians to lift the political debate by focusing on issues that affect our people, and not on character assassination.

Deniston Douglas

Former Industrial Officer (SVGTU)

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