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Sep 28, 2018

B.N.T.U. Will Meet with M.O.E.

Elena Smith

On Thursday, the Ministry of Education made a number of claims against the B.N.T.U., including that the union didn’t respond to information made available to them nor did they raise concerns.  Today, the B.N.T.U. hit back at the ministry for calling them liars. They produced emails to support their account of what did and did not transpire during the consultations.  But the long and short of today’s press briefing is that the ministry has called the B.N.T.U. back to the table.  In a letter, the B.N.T.U. was informed that, following the dialogue to happen within the next two weeks, there will be a period of review and by end of October, there will be a finalized list which will be implemented.


Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“From the first meeting we had with of that committee, I made it clear to that committee that BNTU was not in agreement with changing anything that was there. However, we know that there are schools that were not on the list and we were in agreement with putting those schools on the list. So, from the very first meeting, the committee knew our position. As a matter of fact, there was a meeting of the joint staff from the sixth of April and if you heard Mrs. Ramirez Smith read a resolution, which I crafted at that meeting, because we were discussing some matters of some managements whose schools take every Friday afternoon off. At that meeting we said to them that we were not willing to give up that time and we were not accepting any changes until certain things were put in place. So, for the Ministry to now say that we never indicated that to them, you talk about who is telling the truth and who is lying, and Mrs. Cecelia said that she feels as though we are telling lies, not in so much words. They are the ones lying. I can state that categorically that they are the ones lying.  There was a meeting with managers on September fourth that they spoke about. We were at that meeting and we were addressing with management some of the issues that we are getting from our teachers so that they can address those matters. To my surprise, Mrs. Smith had on the agenda the matter of hardship areas and time off. We were taken by surprise. She gave a copy of that list to all the managers present at that meeting. I was sitting in the front row and there were two managers one seat away from me and I was not given a copy of that list. I questioned in the meeting that the list was not finalized and she said yes and I told her not that it was not finalized because we were to meet and we were to finalize and I explained how that process should have been gone. Her response to me was, in front of the managers and if they want to be honest they can do so, ‘well, Ms. Elena it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day the Ministry makes the final decision.’ So, why put a committee together to review these things if you will come back and say to us that you have the final decision. You are trying to play games with us and use us for fools and we are no fools. So, we maintain that the process was not complete and it must be completed. Today they sent us a letter, dated September twenty-eight, it came in this morning along with the list that was sent to school, they sent that to us this morning. It says, ‘attached to this correspondence is the list of schools as published by the ministry to the managing authorities.’  They are inviting us now to submit our concerns in terms of this list. It says here, ‘note that this invitation for input and specific feedback is also being extended to general managers of pre and primary schools. Submissions must be received on or before October fifteenth and it must be sent to Ms Cecelia Smith who is the deputy chief.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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