Trinidad – Teacher agrees to transfer; protest ends
PORT OF SPAIN –– Primary school teacher Alfaz Hosein has agreed to seek a transfer out of the San Fernando Trinidad Muslim League (TML) primary school.
This has brought to an end protest action by parents who were adamant the school would be shut down if he were allowed to stay.
The matter played out in the San Fernando High Court yesterday, where the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) obtained an injunction restraining Hosein from entering the school compound until a determination was made.
Hosein was not required to be present for the hearing, as he was not a named party to the proceedings.
However, attorney Subhas Panday, who represented Hosein following the 2011 allegation of misconduct, was granted permission to address Justice Rajkumar.
He told Rajkumar the teacher had applied for a transfer out of the school. Attorney Annand Misir, who represented the school’s PTA, asked that the teacher not return to the school pending the application of the transfer.
Hosein will be paid by the Ministry of Education during his time away from teaching. In the interim, the court ordered that he not return for duties at the primary school.
Panday said he had spoken to Hosein yesterday morning and he had agreed to this term.
Kavita Jodhan, who addressed the court on behalf of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), said a meeting would be held next Thursday and the request for the transfer to another school would be placed before the commission.
Jodhan said the commission was “well aware of the matter”.
On Tuesday, president of the PTA Wazir Hosein applied for judicial review before the San Fernando High Court.
The TSC, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education and the director of personnel administration were named as the respondents.
On that day, an injunction was granted by Rajkumar restraining the three parties, their servants or agents from allowing or authorising Alfaz Hosein from entering onto or resuming duties at the school until yesterday or until further ordered.
The notice was served on the three parties and on Alfaz Hosein. Leave was granted yesterday for this notice to be withdrawn.
Rajkumar made a new order, with Alfaz Hosein being added to the names of the other three respondents in the matter. The order stated that Panday was granted leave to be heard on behalf of Alfaz Hosein.
The consent order stated: “It is recorded that the said Alfaz Hosein gives the undertaking through his counsel that he will not report for duties at the San Fernando TML primary school until the determination of his application for transfer by the first respondent [the TSC].”
He also said the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education “gives an undertaking through its counsel that Mr Alfaz Hosein shall continue to receive all his emoluments until the (TSC) has considered and determined his application for a transfer”.
The order is to be signed by Alfaz Hosein.
Rajkumar commended the lawyers for “taking a sensible and practicable approach to this situation”.
Speaking to reporters following the matter, Misir and Panday said they were thankful for the outcome.
Misir said the children’s welfare and well-being were “foremost on everybody’s mind”.
Asked what would be the situation should Hosein go to another school and there is protest action again, Panday said: “When we reach that bridge I’m certain we will be able to cross it in a manner in which we have dealt with this matter today.
“That is why I also thought about him—that if this matter prolongs longer and longer, he would have been in the public eye and then he would have been subjected to more ridicule and, as such, we believe that having completed the matter that he will deal with those issues.”
Back in 2011, it was alleged Hosein had written a love letter to an 11-year-old pupil. An investigation was launched and a report submitted to the TSC.
Hosein was cleared of all wrongdoing by a tribunal. The TSC found there were no grounds for any charges to be laid and disciplinary action would not be taken against him. He had been on suspension for over two years and the TSC recommended Hosein return to his substantive post.
When he attempted to access the San Fernando TML Primary School last week, parents formed a human barricade at the entrance.
On Monday, he was escorted on the compound by police officers. On that day parents took their children out of the school.
In yesterday’s matter, the Ministry of Education was represented by attorney Neil Byam.
Kavita Jodhan addressed the court on behalf of the TSC.