Several Caribbean teachers’ unions have written the President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) Julian Monrose, calling for the resignation of the union’s General Secretary Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte.
In a missive dated November 23, 2015 from the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT), which was seen by this publication, the union said that the CUT constitution was undermined during the last biennial conference.
The union recalled that Dr. Poyotte had informed the conference that she had resigned from the teaching service in St. Lucia to take up a full-time position at Education International.
But the A&BUT said that the CUT constitution states that “A teacher is a person employed in the teaching profession”, therefore she is no longer a teacher or is a member of the local union.
The letter went on to point out that the CUT constitution also states clearly that: “Any executive member of the organisation, upon appointment to any position or job in the government or anywhere outside of the teaching profession during the biennium shall resign forthwith.”
Further, the union said that it was recently made aware that a press statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Lucia on April 9, 2013, declared that Dr. Poyotte was appointed a member of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) of St. Lucia for a period of three years.
The union claims that this information was not made public at the biennial conference in Guyana in 2013, or at the recent biennial conference held in Dominica.
“It is clear that a deliberate attempt was made to conceal this fact, even though several questions were raised about Dr. Poyotte’s eligibility to hold office,” the A&BUT President Ashworth Azille stated.
In fact, the union said if the allegations surrounding Dr. Poyotte’s appointment at the TSC are true, then she should have immediately resigned and should not have accepted the nomination for the post of general secretary of the CUT in August of this year.
The union said that Dr. Poyotte cannot have dual roles as the representative of the employees as general secretary of the CUT and represent the employers as a member of the TSC.
“The CUT must not be compromised in its effort to be the voice of teachers in the Caribbean and the representative of Education International,” the missive added.
Meanwhile, in another letter addressed to Monrose by the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT), raised similar concerns and said even though the issue was brought up at the recent biennial conference, they felt that the it was not adequately addressed and is therefore seeking to have it looked into properly.
“The new light being shed on this matter further solidifies our resolve that this must be addressed and resolved in consistency with the constitution. Be assured that this is by no means personal, as the Bahamas Teachers Union must be careful not to seem hypocritical in its deliberation and affiliation,” John Musgrove of the BUT said in his letter to the CUT president dated December 1, 2015.
The matter is expected to be raised again at a CUT executive meeting which is being held in St. Kitts and Nevis between December 3-5, 2015.
The A&BUT had declined an invitation to attend this meeting because of this same issue.
This publication was unable to reach the CUT executives.