A bruising battle is on for the top position of the 100-year old Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT).
The incumbent President General Lydon Lewis is facing a stiff battle from a former President, Marvin Andall who is the Principal of a small school in the countryside.
Lewis has denied rumours circulating from opponents that he is close to the ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and is the beneficiary of a 100% duty free vehicle from government.
He told THE NEW TODAY that he was given the customary 50% concession like all travelling officers.
According to Lewis, the 50% concession is included in an agreement between government and GUT for teachers who have served for a certain amount of years in the service to qualify for the concession.
The incumbent President is hoping that the teachers will give him a high grade when they cast their ballots on Monday.
Lewis expressed satisfaction with his stewardship for the past two years and said his biggest challenge after assuming the GUT Presidency was to face-off with the Keith Mitchell-led administration for the payment of back pay due to teachers.
He said if he does not receive the support of the teachers to re-elect him as their President, he knows that he is leaving with a sense of accomplishment.
“I would leave and would be proud that the teachers have said to me that they are willing to go a different direction, that they are willing to look for new leadership, not that I have not done well but because they believe the other person is better than I am. That is what the vote will be saying to me, “ he said.
Lewis believes that one of the success stories during his Presidency is getting retired teachers to form themselves into an association.
He also took pride in stating that his two year Presidency has given life to the full appointment of 11 Principals who were in an acting capacity for several years.
In addition, a group of Early Childhood Teachers who upgraded themselves in Jamaica and were not recognised upon completion of their studies were able to receive their upgrades from government shortly after Lewis became GUT President.
Within GUT there is now a youth arm that attracts the younger teachers.
Looking ahead, the incumbent President has his eyes set on creating a supermarket not just for teachers, but for the wider society where groceries can be obtained at a cheaper rate than what is obtained from the other established supermarkets.
GUT owns a parcel of land at Tempe, St. George which Lewis believes can be used as a housing project for their membership.
A pro-Lewis supporter has told our News Desk that one term is not enough to judge Lewis’ stewardship of the organisation and that he should be re-elected to continue the task.
Andall who has served as President for many years is campaigning on the theme that GUT is facing a leadership crisis and he is coming back to rescue it.
There are currently 2,150 unionised members of the GUT.
The candidates vying for GUT election are:
President General – Lydon Lewis (incumbent) and Marvin Andall.
First Deputy President – Kenny James and Davis Adams.
Second Deputy President – Findley Jeffrey (Scholar) and John Andrew.
General Secretary – Tessa McQuilkin (unopposed).
Asst. General Secretary – Annie Pierre and Diane Abel Jeffrey.
Treasurer – Gordon Welch and Kelly Calliste.
Trustees – Lyris LaQua, Ian Best, Magdalene Carmichael, Francine Marshall, Jude Bartholomew and Antonio Rodriquez.