Nation e-Edition

BUT has head’s full attention

BUT has head’s full attention Pedro Shepherd. (FP)

By Yvette Best | Wed, October 24, 2012 - 12:08 AM

No political or any other aspirations will take precedence over the mandate of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT).  

That is the word from newly-elected president of the union Pedro Shepherd, who is stoutly defending the union and former president Karen Best against allegations that the BUT remained silent on several key issues, including the Alexandra School saga, because of Best’s career goals.

Best resigned her position as BUT president last month after being appointed Deputy Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, effective September 1.

“I don’t accept the view that the union kept silent because of any aspirations of the previous president. I believe the union might have been perceived to be silent on issues because in some instances, particularly in the Alexandra case, we were awaiting word from the BSTU (Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union),” he told the MIDWEEK NATION at the annual president’s reception on Monday night.

When pressed, Shepherd said that the BUT did receive correspondence from the BSTU on the Alexandra situation, but said he could not speak to the exact details of the correspondence then.

Please read the full story in today’s MIDWEEK NATION, or in the eNATION edition.

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Posted by stephen nicholls 1 year, 12 months ago
The BUT did receive correspondence from the BSTU on the Alexandra issue but Shepherd can't speak to the exact details... Is this BUT organization serious? Is there no file kept to which he can refer? If, as Shepherd revealed, there was indeed a letter from the BSTU on the matter how can he say with any truth that the BUT was "awaiting word"? This is the kind of thing people spew and expect intelligent people to accept! I agree with another commentator. The inaction of and non-support of the BUT for the teachers of the BSTU clearly prove Martin Carter's astute observation that "the mouth is muzzled by the hand that feeds it"! This will forever remain a shameful blot on the BUT which indeed had received complaints and concerns about the Alexandra principal from at least one of its members there! Mr Shepherd does not inspire me with any confidence that the BUT's stated mission will not be further compromised. Quid pro quo has been its undoing in this affair. But karma can be devastating.

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Posted by Lionel James 1 year, 12 months ago
Well, how very surprising. Unwillingness to "accept" the truth does absolutely nothing to alter in any way, shape or form its essence...it remains the Truth! But what else would you expect the new president to say? It cannot miss any reader that Mr Shepherd only admitted that the BUT had indeed received a letter from the BSTU "when pressed"! Speaks volumes, doesn't it.

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Posted by Keith Hurst 1 year, 12 months ago
Foolishness! The BUT received correspondence from the BSTU, the affair was all over the media, in was THE talking point across this fair land, teachers were being vilified, crucified...and the BUT was mum, struck dumb...not a ping, not a pang. And now hear the joke...they were "awaiting word"!! How pro- active is this teachers' union! Mr Shepherd, you are incredible...in every sense of the word.

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Posted by Veronica Whitney 1 year, 12 months ago
I might be slow but I'm trying my best to reconcile some details that are brought to light in this article. You admit (only "when pressed") that the BUT received correspondence from the BSTU on the Alexandra situation. Yet you continue to maintain that the BUT kept silent on the same Alexandra case because you "were awaiting word from the BSTU." I'm having difficulty trying to get these two details to mesh. While I cannot be considered a devoted unionist by any stretch of the imagination, I am one who just can't abide unfairness. Can anyone help me to reconcile these details here?

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Posted by nesta marley 1 year, 12 months ago
the BUT had a say in the Alexandra talks, they sided with they members who were in opposition of the BSTU. had they supported the teachers who went out on strike,in the spirit of solidarity,we wouldv'e generated action sooner and save the government and tax payers thousands of dollars.Now he stands there claiming 'no political aspirations' etc.the truth is that the BUT leadership is the groundation/entry level to the ministry of education, and subsequently subjEcted to favour of them... see the political path and praCtices of the past union leaders who have morphed into the ministry.

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Posted by Carlton Irish 1 year, 12 months ago
Early in the saga, I simply could not fathom the reason for the BUT's deafening silence. I was unwilling to ascribe this to the severely myopic, inevitably self-defeating, petty factionalism which I later deemed the BUT's stance (or lack thereof) to be. The BUT's conduct is truly unfortunate. Mr Shepherd must surely be of the view that teachers and all other members of the public are extremely simple and naive if he expects his explanation given above to be swallowed! "Awaiting word"??!! Seriously, sir?!? By your own admission, you "did receive correspondence from the BSTU on the Alexandra situation". Are you saying that this correspondence mentioned nary a word re the issue(s) at the Alexandra school? Why on earth did the BUT think it had been sent that correspondence? What "word" could the BUT have been waiting for? Pray tell, Mr President.

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