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Oct 31, 2022

Fourteen of Seventeen Teachers of Holy Cross Primary Walk Out

Today the vast majority of teachers at Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in San Pedro walked out of their classrooms on grounds that the school’s management has owed them two months’ salary and hardship allowances. In one case, a teacher who just recently delivered a baby is owed two months’ salary as well, and their efforts to collect or to find out when they can has not been met with anything more than empty promises. News Five’s Marion Ali was at the school today to hear the teachers’ concerns. Here’s her report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The four hundred students who attend Holy Cross Anglican Primary School in San Pedro are out indefinitely after fourteen of their seventeen teachers walked out of classes this morning. The educators told News Five that they are tired of showing up to work every day and not getting paid for the past two months, in some cases.

Carol Canelo

Carol Canelo, Teacher, Holy Cross Anglican School

“We have seven teachers on our staff who have not been paid for the past two months, and one of them who is not here today is a first-time mother and she has not been paid for two months. We’ve heard so many different stories, like there was a story that the teachers would be paid this Wednesday and so we’ve come to the point where we’re not believing stories anymore, so I can’t really give you a straight story as to what is happening why these teachers are not being paid.”


Teacher at the school, Carol Canelo told News Five that salaries are just a part of the problem they are facing with the school’s management.
Carol Canelo

“We are given a measly two hundred dollars per month to live in San Pedro. All other government workers or NGOs, they don’t get two hundred dollars. They get rent allowance, they get transportation, they get all sorts of things. We are given two hundred dollars per month and most of the time, every years since I’ve been here for the past four years, we never get that at the end of September or October. I don’t understand how on God’s green Earth they expect these teachers to live, to come and teach and to survive on this island that is expensive without being paid. That is almost impossible. So the first on our list is no pay. With the disaster coming, what are these teachers going to do now without having a salary that they could fall back on to prepare for this disaster that is coming?”


Helen Melendez

Helen Melendez, B.N.T.U. Representative, Holy Cross Anglican School

“I asked my principal can we get something written in black and white. I sent an email to my principal from Friday. I still haven’t gotten any response from my principal, neither to tell me Miss Helen, I do not have anything in black and white or Miss Helen, that won’t be possible. I haven’t heard anything at all. Now, in reference to the teachers who haven’t gotten paid, I have been back and forth with the President of the B.N.T.U, Ms Gillett, and I have informed her of what is happening at the moment. We get to realize that two of these teachers contracts got lost. This is not the first time that this is happening. It has been happening constantly. Important documents have been going missing from the office, why, I don’t know.”


Helen Melendez and her colleagues said there’s yet another issue that the teachers say they face at the school.


Carol Canelo

“If there’s an issue with a particular child or parent, Administration – and ah wa seh this piece in kriol – neva seem to have our back. So we are left out in the open. There have been cases where a parent actually tried to physically assault a teacher. Parents verbally abuse teachers and Administration never has our side. We are always left to make it seem as if though the teacher is at fault.”


The teachers demand that they be paid by the end of today, and if they’re not, then they will stay away from the classroom until they are paid.


Carol Canelo

“If we don’t get what we want, meaning salary for our seven teachers, our allowances and our increments, then we are not going to go back into the classroom.”


We tried to speak with the principal of the school, but she told us that she was going into class and did not have any comment. Marion Ali for News Five.

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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