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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.