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Lloyd Begs Teachers: Be Patient

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Minister Jeffery Lloyd yesterday called grievances raised by the Bahamas Union of Teachers this week “legitimate,” but urged the union to be patient as the government works to “resolve the issues”.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Mr Lloyd said while the problems presented seem severe, he was of the view that “patient and understanding minds” could come to an agreement on many of the issues raised by BUT President Belinda Wilson during an impassioned speech on Wednesday before a group of disgruntled teachers.

Mr Lloyd said he is working “night and day, day and night, non-stop” to address the things the government is at fault for in the dispute, while “weighing all options” on the things “we’ve already made right”.

On Wednesday Mrs Wilson said the union was preparing to file a trade dispute over several ongoing issues, including the union’s access to campuses, the rights of teachers, unresolved issues at several schools and unpaid confirmation wages owed from September.

At the time of her claims, Mrs Wilson said if the issues were not resolved to the union’s satisfaction, it would take industrial action.

The BUT filed its dispute yesterday afternoon, according to Labour Director Robert Farquharson.

Meanwhile, for his part, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said he expected the dispute letter to go through the “normal processes” before any action could be taken by the BUT.

In response yesterday, Mr Lloyd told The Tribune: “I am aware, as I am sure you are, that the union in this case has a legitimate grief. They are owed money.

“Now while we differ on how many of them are owed under the guidelines of our agreement, the issue is that several of them are still waiting to be paid. We can’t run away from that. We have to fix that.”

The BUT remains adamant that 753 teachers have not received a $1,000 lump sum payment as guaranteed to newly confirmed teachers by an industrial agreement.

However, according to Mr Lloyd, a vast majority of those teachers were added to the public service via agreements that prohibited them from the payment - contracted teachers; retired teachers that were reengaged and persons hired as aides, were all identified as groups prohibited form the payment.

Mr Lloyd also confirmed that he and several senior staffers in the Ministry of Education met with Mrs Wilson and other representatives from the BUT on Monday.

Of the meeting, Mr Lloyd said: “We sat in with them and heard the concerns. I announced during that meeting that I would have to leave before we were done. I asked Mrs Wilson to continue on with the meeting without me, but she refused.”

He added: “My actions were not intended as a slight or disrespect, I made it clear that I had a limited window and I tried to steer the meeting in a direction that would allow us to cover as much as we could before I had to leave. I thought she would have been okay to continue once I made my exit. She objected. The meeting ended.”

The Tribune asked Mr Lloyd if he believes his departure led to Mrs Wilson’s actions, he said he didn’t believe so, but insisted he has always “kept the communication lines opened.”

“Whatever was said (Wednesday) was generated by her idea to do what she viewed as best for the those involved,” he said. “I have been clear with this from day one, I believe teachers are extremely critical to everything we do at the Ministry of Education. Therefore, I am dedicated and focused on doing right by them.

“I do believe what we saw on Wednesday was disappointing, but the issue is money, and again, they have a right. We asked them to be patient, and we are working to fix this. We have pleaded with them, and we are trying to find the money. We want the same thing. We want our children to have the best education possible. A proper education,” Mr Lloyd said.

Mr Lloyd also rejected the notion that some teachers were being mistreated by administrators.

Additionally, he denied claims the union was being barred from various campuses.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 6 months ago

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Lloyd has no real political power or broad based public support to accomplish anything meaningful within the Ministry of Education. His cabinet post is a vital one to our country's development needs and deserves much better than he could ever hope or be expected to accomplish. Truly sad.

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Well_Comrade Mudda_take sic12, a good education is the number one essential facing our islands nation if we are to become competent at dealing with the environment, crime and income sustaining a middle class society.... although few can explain what exactly are the essential tools and techniques middle class society?

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proudloudandfnm 1 year, 6 months ago

How much was spent on that wierd trip to Japan to see if their automobile inspections are good enough for us...

How many teachers could have gotten a thousand dollars instead?

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hrysippus 1 year, 6 months ago

this leader of the teachers union, ......................... .,.... .. .
Declines the ministerial communion, . . . ... An ego too big or political agenda, . . . . .... Prevents a solution they might otherwise engender, . . .. . .. .. The students she teach only reach D minus, . . . . .... Lack of education is one of the things that define us. . . .... ... Perhaps this teacher is part of the cause, . . .. .. . .... Shame, that we can't simply show her the doors . . . .. .. So she can leave the school system and get on with her life, . . . .. Leaving the Honourable Jeffrey with a little less strife.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 6 months ago

Both Lloyd and Belinda are hot heads and airheads ...... Nothing good can happen with BOTH of them at the helm of the MOE and BUT .......... Money cannot fix Bahamian public education ..... The system needs to be fixed from the ground up ...... There are too many ineffective and inefficient schools and too many ineffective, entitled, tenured teachers who are more concerned about their salaries and the BUT than their profession and the children ......... This is just the sad reality in public education ........ Where is the BEMU in all of this?????????

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bogart 1 year, 6 months ago

Mr Lloyd needs to treat these matters as though they are call ins to his radio show where there are always solutions.

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TigerB 1 year, 5 months ago

Those are, in most cases old bills, from the last administration Wilson is talking bout. They just didn't come up, Ask Jerome Fitzgerald, he had them and he met them there from that Garraway Woman in the FNM and she met them there from the last minister who met them there. In reality teachers will always be owed it seems. Its a money issue. Mrs. Wilson will always be the president cause she makes the most noise, and she is a effective leader. Only losers are the children in the schools... losers make criminals. The national grade level is still a D+, I'm waiting to see if it will change under Mr. Lloyd. I doubt it.

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