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Oct 22, 2016

Minister of Education Discusses “Tight” Situation

Patrick Faber

With all the talk of a salary deduction, there are serious concerns about the legality of such a decision.  In fact, the question of whether or not government has the right to withhold wages is front and center of B.N.T.U.’s latest round of discussions.  But what does it all mean for the political aspirations of Minister of Education Patrick Faber who is also Deputy Prime Minister?  Faber admittedly finds himself in quite a pickle with the teachers and says that he is threading lightly given the sensitive nature of the situation.

 

Isani Cayetano

“There is a reference to a Supreme Court decision that was handed down by former Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh, if I’m not mistaken, with regards to the compensation of teachers via salary when it comes to industrial action such as this.  Can you speak to that, in terms of contextualizing this particular instance?”

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Well I am pretty sure that there is no question about whether or not there is the right to deduct salaries for teachers who go on strike.  I have not heard the President of the B.N.T.U. say that.  I have heard him question who has the right to deduct the salaries for that portion of the time that the teachers were missing and he is interpreting it to mean that it is the managing authority.  We believe differently.  But as I’ve said in the beginning, it doesn’t really matter.  If it is that the managing authority has to make that decision, the government is simply not going to transfer the grants and so the managing authorities, if they decide to pay and they have the ability to pay up on their own, can feel free to pay.  In fact, anybody who wishes to come in, the People’s United Party, the Opposition, if they feel the need to come in and respond to the call of the union to pay the teachers please feel free.  Enter now.  But it is difficult for us as a government acting responsibly to make that call given that there is a torn situation here: there are those teachers who did turn up diligently and I would want to say it‘s a good number of teachers.  I am of the opinion that it is not what the union said it was on those days of the strike at all and I made that point from even then, we owe an obligation to these teachers as well.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“From a political perspective, don’t you find yourself in sort of a pickle in terms of your own aspirations to someday lead the country versus your present capacity as the Minister of Education and having to deal directly with this particular issue as it concerns teachers?  Where do you find yourself, in terms of these two particular interests, so to speak?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Well firstly I will say that you are right, it is a tough position to be in even as the negotiations were going on to end the strike there was a lot said in relation to me.  There was a lot of questions asked in terms of what I was doing as Minister of Education to end the strike and some of it is rather unfair I’d say because I think a lot of people knew that these were not education issues, that in fact these issues were national issues and insofar as people were hoping that I could be a part of the decision making to solve the problem, I did that.  As a part of the Cabinet, as the Deputy Prime Minister in private discussions with the Prime Minister, attending meetings, trying to talk to stakeholders I did the very best job that I could do.  But you know Isani, sometimes being in leadership requires you to make tough decisions and sometimes those tough decisions put you in an awkward place.  It doesn’t put you ideally perched to be where you want to be all the time or to get where you want to get but I think that people who are looking on and people who are fair-minded will judge me down the road when that time arises if I aspire to be the leader of our party and by extension of the country, if the people so decide.  They will weigh all things and they will consider all things.”

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2 Responses for “Minister of Education Discusses “Tight” Situation”

  1. carlos says:

    Well you, as an educator before you became minister, should have known better. It seems that you completely forgot all the hardships teachers go through. That is not how a good leader behaves. From day one or day two your government could have solved the problem. They just wanted to test the union to see how far they were going to go. It seemed that the whole bunch of politicians now in government did not learn any thing from the strike in 2015. If you do not remember, ask the Musa administration what happened to them after the 2005 strike, and they did not cut teachers’ salaries. Imagine what can happened if you go ahead with your plans. Sorry for you politicians.

  2. Joe says:

    Thats a wicked boy! Just like barrow and finnegan…..

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