GUT confirms no fundraising activities by schools for one year

The Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) has confirmed that the required apology has not been forthcoming from the Ministry of Education to take back its directive given to school principals and teachers to enforce a one-year ban on fundraising activities from September.

Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper Tuesday, GUT President, Lydon Lewis expressed disappointment with the failure of the ministry to honour the commitment that it had given on the apology issue.

The apology is related to a retraction to the statement issued to the public to dispel the decision taken by the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) to ask parents to pay for the furniture used by the students.

The GUT felt that the statement threw the GBSS Principal under the bus and took the decision for all schools to postpone fundraising activities for one year.

The issue was discussed at a meeting held June 2 between officials of the union and the Ministry of Education in which an in-house apology was reportedly given for the statement.

However, the GUT demanded that a public apology should be made and a retraction of the statement by last Friday.

According to Lewis, the public apology was never done the union is left with no choice but to go back to its earlier position on the fundraising activities.

“We are very disappointed with the fact that they have not done so because we felt that the discussion we held were very fruitful…but not putting out the press release puts out a different side that we’re not comfortable with….”, he said.

“We would have agreed in principle that we would have withdrawn the action, once the press release comes but that has not happened. As far as we know, the action is still on”, he added.

The GUT boss stated that the time for retraction of the statement by the ministry has passed to make the impact that it was intended to do.

“…The time in which we felt that it would have had an impact has already passed but as a matter of principle we still asking that it be done because that would be the only reason that would cause us to ask our Principals to go ahead and raise funds”, he told this newspaper.

“…The fact is that they gave a commitment that it would be done and we expect them to keep their commitment,” he said.

Lewis also addressed reports that circulated in the country that the Ministry of Education was contemplating taking disciplinary action against the GBSS Principal, Phillip Thomas on the school furniture issue.

He said the ministry has denied at the meeting with GUT that any action would be taken against the Principal.

“I particularly asked the Ministry about that and they denied it… and that they gave a commitment that there would be absolutely no victimisation regarding the actions that were taken (by) the Principal of Grenada Boys Secondary School…”, he said.

According to Lewis, as far as the union is aware the issue “was dispelled around the table…we do not expect anything to happen”.

Relations between GUT and the Keith Mitchell-led government have been rather “hot and cold” over the past five years.

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