“I will never waiver or compromise teachers’ interest, that is my main thing, teachers trust me and I have always been faithful to our issues,” promised the new President-elect of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Jude Bartholomew.
Bartholomew emerged winner in Wednesday’s General Elections defeating his contender Connie McQuilkin, president of Saint Andrew’s branch of the GUT and teacher at St Joseph’s Convent in Grenville.
He is a qualified teacher for the past 28 years at the St Martin de Porres RC School (Crochu RC) in Saint Andrew and president of Saint David’s branch of the GUT for the past six years.
The posts of trustee, Second Vice President (VP) and First Vice President (VP) on the GUT’s national executive are all on his list.
Bartholomew, who described himself as “a grassroots person” told The Grenadian Voice Friday that his decision to contest the post of president is “because of that passion and love for teachers and workers, I feel I have a very important role to play.”
Foremost among the issues affecting teachers he plans to champion during his tenure, is the re-instatement of pension and gratuity for public officers. He noted that progress needs to be made with the matter, which is before the court.
Secondly, he spoke of the regularisation of teachers, stating that many are “permanently temporary for even up to 16 years”. Bartholomew recalled that in the past after two years, once one’s performance is satisfactory, teachers are recommended and appointed to permanent status. However, at present teachers are placed on contract, which is not giving them job security.
Another matter is the continuation of current struggle to ensure the payment of the 4% salary increase, which was due from the end of January; but government maintains that due to reduced revenue it is unable to pay now.
As it relates to study leave and teachers receiving renumeration upon completion, Bartholomew said there have been instances where no renumeration is received because the teachers’ area of study is not in line with the subject/s they teach.
However, the President-elect said this shouldn’t be an issue as a teacher should have the right to select any area of study to upgrade within Education.
Lastly, to be corrected is teachers being able to return to Teacher’s College at the T A Marryshow Community College, noting that this year is the first time that teachers are not able to attend while Imanis are attending.
According to Wednesday’s election results: The First Deputy President General is Justin Courtney (unopposed) while the Second Deputy President General is Franklyn Marshall. Tessa McQuilkin returned unopposed as General Secretary and she will be assisted by Melissa St Rose while the Treasurer is Magdeline Carmichael.
The new executive will be sworn in at the GUT’s convention on March 30 & 31, 2021.