BUT president not bothered by ministry threats

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) will not be intimidated by threats made by the Ministry of Education.

With those fighting words, president Pedro Shepherd and members of the BUT dug in their heels for a protracted battle, after the ministry issued a statement yesterday warning teachers they should go back to work or they would face the consequences.

Teachers at the Parkinson and Alma Parris Memorial Secondary schools who are represented by the BUT are protesting the failure of Parkinson principal Jeff Broomes to address indiscipline among students at the Pine, St Michael institution, some of whom took weapons to school last week, and similar security issues at Alma Parris.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY at the union’s headquarters where several teachers gathered for the third day, Shepherd said the union was not bothered by the ministry’s threats and it was “not going to buckle”.

BUT president Pedro Shepherd
BUT president Pedro Shepherd

“The language is language that trade unions are accustomed to. The language is not going to frighten us at the BUT. I do not know who would think that Pedro Shepherd who is leading the BUT would buckle. I have a tradition to uphold,” he insisted.

“I am following sister Karen Best; I am following Senator Harry Husbands and I am following Minister of Education Ronald Jones. I am also following John Cumberbatch and I am following tradition,” Shepherd said, referring to previous union leaders.

Asked whether he would be approaching the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) to join the BUT’s cause, Shepherd responded: “When we think that the impasse has reached the stage where we must seek solidarity of other teachers’ unions and every teacher we will go that route.”

“However, we are hoping that the ministry can, for the first time, come to the BUT or invite the BUT to sit with the two principals and bring a resolution to the situation. It is possible that the dispute can escalate, but it can also be diffused. The Ministry of Education has a responsibility to deal with the matters and it has refused to for the past five years,” he added.

The union boss told Barbados TODAY he was yet to receive a response from the ministry to a letter he sent informing that a dispute existed between the BUT and the ministry.

11 Responses to BUT president not bothered by ministry threats

  1. darrelanderson
    darrelanderson February 13, 2015 at 12:57 am

    the president of BUTT won’t take a back seat to anybody. Let’s get behind BUTT and make it a big BUTT!

  2. Clive Walrond
    Clive Walrond February 13, 2015 at 1:36 am

    If u all had the blp to deal with,u all would be looking for work all now .

  3. Louise King
    Louise King February 13, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Is de teaching profession a battle ground, I thought U people join de teaching profession to bring fools to understanding–education for de young–

  4. Vashti Smith
    Vashti Smith February 13, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Is this how our children are being taught to resolve conflict?

  5. Maxine Baker February 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Union or no Union, at the end of the day, Mr Shepherd will find himself out on a “limb” and his fellow teachers will leave him just there with the famous words: “He should have known better. He was the leader”. Mr Shepherd, you had better have a word with Mr Broomes …. Oops!

  6. Lady Jay
    Lady Jay February 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    he have children ?

  7. MariaMaria Angel
    MariaMaria Angel February 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Smdh@ These comments, which are proof that field nigga mentality still rife in Barbados. Fire all the teachers and see if that will make wanna deviant children any less so….

  8. Josh February 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I do not quite understand the purpose of this dispute – for real – please can someone enlighten me?

    My understanding is teachers are responsible for the day to day disciplining of students – is this not the case in Barbados?

    I am also of the understanding that a teacher’s role is to teach students – is that not the case in Barbados?

    Are these striking teachers saying that they made recommendations to expel students with offensive weapons and the head teacher refused their recommendations? If this is the case, did they raise their concerns with the Ministry of Education and as a consequence of the ministry’s refusal to act, embark upon a course of strike action as they are in fear of their lives?

    As a HR professional, if the above questions cannot be responded to positively, the teachers are in breach of their employment contract and should be sacked.

    The interest of the children should be paramount but no doubt the union which is backing the complainant teachers has sufficient funds to pay the salaries of these poor, hard done by teachers in the event of their dismissal?

    Lucky I’m not a part of the government, probably too logical and decisive to be considered for even a lesser role – given everything Barbados is currently contending with this is a non-issue and yet again a distraction from bigger issues.

  9. 3rdsun February 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The BUT of jokes.

  10. Tony Waterman February 14, 2015 at 4:40 am

    This only shows how ineffective the Minister of Education, The Chief Education Officer, The Deputy Chief Education Officer, and the ENTIRE EDUCATION Department in Barbados is, this is not anything that should have escalated to this point, where 35 Teachers are not in School Teaching the Children, and if the Minister had any BALLS (Not intimating that he is a enuch, just an expression) he would give them a date and time to return from their ILLEGAL WALK OUT, and if they are not on the School Compound when that time has Passed, meet them at the Gate with PINK SLIPS when they do show up.
    you cant be employed by anyone and go AWOL and not expect consequences.
    Let the UNION Employ them. they also have the COURT SYSTEM to go to if they are dissatisfied with the results of their FOOLISH Behaviour.

  11. Patricia Bowen February 14, 2015 at 6:19 am

    How does two wrongs make a right. The teachers and union are angry that they issues are not being addressed as they would like. They have not considered having meetings during the holidays, on their day off, or protesting with their placards during the weekend. Oh no. It must be done during school hours to disrupt the children’s education. Why? To prove to adults that already have their education that their issues must be heard and seen. You are actually saying to the children by your example, to succeed you must reach your goals at what ever cost, even if you step on the shoulders of others and ignore what is morally right to do so.
    I am aware that they are deviant children in every school and elsewhere. I am also aware that if the mast is removed from these children you will find the most wonderful personality underneath. The ones that God placed within them. He has placed given them gifts and talents before they were born and he does not make mistakes. God loves them and want the very best for them. Even though they may appear uncontrollable, God has also given some teachers with the gift of teaching to reach these children. Teachers that have this unique gift and coupled with a close relationship with the Holy Spirit will find that they will reach these children in a profound way unlike others. It’s not them really it’s just the Holy Spirit that is at work through them. Alas these days we are so busy, and crowded that it’s difficult to see or understand the hurt, pain and suffering these children are going through which is often manifested in anger. We can decide that every child found with a weapon, or does something silly should be expelled and left to grow up at the street corners or maybe consider a center other than Dods where highly trained professional individuals can work with these kids. Yes realistically we may not save all, but if some are saved it will be a hugh difference. Years later they will be productive men and women that will look back and thank some one for caring enough to make a difference. It all about love. One day God is going to ask each of us to account for any millstone that we placed in these children’s path. If we can’t help them pray for them. They are the future and will continue to be the builders of this nation. If we ill treat them today, we may find them administering medication to us when we are old.


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