Incumbent President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Lydon Lewis is confident that his two-year tenure as head of the Union was fruitful and productive enough to see him re-elected for another term in office.
Election for a new GUT Executive is due to be held on March 9 and Lewis’ position is being challenged by a former President, Marvin Andall.
THE NEW TODAY Newspaper on Monday spoke with the outgoing President who is believed to have launched his campaign for re-election to get a feel as to whether he was confident about overcoming the challenge from Andall.
Lewis alluded to the achievements attained for teachers under his leadership and was hopeful that these “major accomplishments” would not go unrecognized when the time came for balloting.
He said the ball will be in the court of the membership of the union to determine who they would like to put their trust in to lead the Union.
“I am confident that teachers would look at the issues and look at where the Union is at, and look at how this present Executive has served under my leadership and they would make a decision … so there is nothing to fear…”, he remarked.
“…I am quietly confident that teachers would see the work of the union, they would evaluate and determine, whether they would want to continue with me or they would look towards new leadership,” he said.
According to Lewis, a lot was achieved during his two years, despite coming in at a time when the union was going through a rough time.
“My tenure as head of the Union would have started at a period where we were negotiating the back pay from Government and we had very challenging times with that. However, we were successful, we overcome these challenges and teachers in the public service and also the Lecturers of TAMCC also received their reward in terms of the back pay,” he told THE NEW TODAY.
“We had the issue of the teachers who were not upgraded after they would have completed their courses 2009-2010 and recently we saw that being completed. The short pool of teachers received their upgrading and all that has to be done now is that they are due some significant sums from Government as back pay, a short payment and so we expect these monies to be paid,” he said.
Lewis was pointed in the direction of the Primary School Principal Association and the Retired Teachers Association, which were formed under the tenure of the new Executive.
“That’s an association that captures all retired teachers who want to continue to be of some service or continue to associate with each other and what we are seeing is that this association has been doing very well. In fact they are very active, every branch has their own Executive and they’ve been meeting regularly, he said.
Lewis stated that his executive was able to resolve a number of issues with the Ministry of Education including the situation regarding temporary teachers in the service.
“There are still some issues that we want to deal with, however it’s
taking some time and we trust that in the new period, whether its new leadership or my leadership, we can finally tackle these issues buÅt one of the successes we think we (are) going to have in the near future is the resolution of the temporary teachers issue,” he said.
He was optimistic that due to “all of the achievements” of the Executive that he led in the past two years, teachers should be in the right frame of mind for election.
“I know that teachers are at a point where they can focus on what is important for the organisation and if it means that they make a decision I would always love my union and always willing to serve at whatever capacity but I believe that teachers would make the best decision for the organisation,” he said.
GUT insiders anticipate a keen battle for the top spot as Andall is believed to have his own support base as a former President of the union.