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School Sabotage Claims, More Teachers Stage Sit-Out

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ALLEGATIONS of sabotage to school property is the latest development in the continuing dispute between the education officials and the Bahamas Union of Students.

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald yesterday said that 24-hour security will be implemented at Uriah McPhee and Stephen Dillet Primary Schools following reports that air conditioning systems were sabotaged. Police investigations are continuing in the matter, Mr Fitzgerald said.

Mr Fitzgerald added that he placed no credibility on the environmental report contracted by the Bahamas Union of Teachers on conditions at the two schools, adding that it was prepared by a teacher facing disciplinary action for absenteeism. 

However, BUT president Belinda Wilson pointed out that security patrols should have already been implemented, and called on the education minister to “stop sending up smokescreens.”

She said: “I will not fight our battles with him in the public, we have filed a trade dispute for Stephen Dillet and Uriah McPhee if he wants to have anything to say to me about those two schools then find his way into the Department of Labour when the Ministry (of Education) is served to appear.”

Meanwhile, teachers at Carlton Francis Primary School staged a sit-in yesterday, adding to the series of protests against teacher shortages and overcrowding.

Ms Wilson said: “I lead the union, but I take my lead from my members, whenever they give a complaint or grievance it is my obligation to investigate, to get the information and send it out. When we’re ignored, disrespected, when they think they are intimidating us, try to threaten us, then we have to move up the ante, and we do have laws rules and policies that are on our side.”

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