Attorney tells THA Chief Sec to fire himself

At­tor­ney at Law Mar­tin George is call­ing for THA chief sec­re­tary and sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion Kelvin Charles to fire him­self af­ter a judge­ment was hand­ed down last Fri­day, de­mand­ing that the THA pay out­stand­ing monies and gra­tu­ities owed to all con­tract teach­ers on the is­land.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence held at his Ba­co­let of­fice on Mon­day, George said, it was de­ter­mined that the THA treat­ed the 14 teach­ers un­equal­ly com­pared to the per­ma­nent teach­ers on the is­land, as well as con­tract teach­ers in Trinidad; by pay­ing them less and not al­low­ing them the same amount of leave, va­ca­tion, ben­e­fits, and perquisites.

He is, there­fore, ques­tion­ing the THA’s use of the an­nu­al bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion for salaries and gra­tu­ities.

“When you look at the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion of the THA each year, it is al­most $3 bil­lion and the ma­jor­i­ty of that goes to­ward re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture which they claim to be us­ing to pay bills, ex­pens­es and salaries, so if you have $3 bil­lion and this is sup­posed to be paid in­clud­ing your salaries, why is it that so many per­sons in the THA are not be­ing paid prop­er salaries, their salaries are paid late, some are un­der­paid, some are short paid, and lots of peo­ple are not paid their gra­tu­ity monies at all, so we are say­ing, Where is the mon­ey?, What have you done with the bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion each year?, Why are you not pay­ing your own work­ers?” He said.

George said, to add in­sult to in­jury, con­tract teach­ers in To­ba­go are not recog­nised as teach­ers by the THA, but are be­ing re­ferred to as “ed­u­ca­tors;” an act he said so­lid­i­fied the teacher’s claim of dis­crim­i­na­tion.

He has called on THA chief sec­re­tary Kelvin Charles, who is al­so the sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion to fire him­self.

“We are call­ing up­on Mr Kelvin Charles in his ca­pac­i­ty as the chief sec­re­tary to dis­ci­pline and fur­ther dis­miss the sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion (sic) be­cause we are say­ing the sec­re­tary for the Ed­u­ca­tion in the THA is an epic fail­ure and we want Mr Kelvin Charles to deal with that sec­re­tary who­ev­er he is, have that sec­re­tary re­moved be­cause that sec­re­tary is not do­ing his job prop­er­ly (sic),” he said.

Mean­while, Na­dia Phillips and Zor­isha Hack­ett, two out of the 14 teach­ers who brought the ac­tion against the THA, said their ac­tion was not just about mon­ey, but the mere prin­ci­ple of re­ceiv­ing their just due.

Hack­ett told the me­dia, af­ter work­ing with the Di­vi­sion of Ed­u­ca­tion for ap­prox­i­mate­ly nine years and not hav­ing prop­er con­tracts, she was dis­en­fran­chised when she was un­able to be paid for her ma­ter­ni­ty leave.

“There was nev­er a sce­nario where we ne­go­ti­at­ed, where we could go through the terms and con­di­tions and agree to, we were al­ready in the sys­tem and then asked to sign these con­tracts, so it came as a shock to us,” Hack­ett said.

As­sem­bly­man Far­ley Au­gus­tine who was al­so a con­tract teacher faced sim­i­lar is­sues. He said, since as­sum­ing du­ties as a teacher in 2010, he has nev­er re­ceived gra­tu­ities. He said all seemed well un­til he was elect­ed as an As­sem­bly­man in 2017. Au­gus­tine said, he did not re­sign and he was not for­mal­ly fired, how­ev­er, he was not al­lowed to con­tin­ue his teach­ing com­mit­ments.

“I nev­er re­ceived writ­ten no­tice that I was fired. It’s on­ly when I went to school in Sep­tem­ber of 2017, the prin­ci­pal in­di­cat­ed that he was giv­en in­struc­tions from the Di­vi­sion of Ed­u­ca­tion not to al­low me to sign in­to the reg­is­ter as a teacher,” he said.

He al­so put the THA on no­tice that he plans to take le­gal ac­tion.

Last Fri­day, Jus­tice David Har­ris or­dered the THA to pay an in­ter­est at 2.5 per cent per an­num on the monies due to the teach­ers from the date of fil­ing the claim, to the date of Judg­ment, as well as an in­ter­est at 5 per cent per an­num on all out­stand­ing monies due, from the date of judg­ment to the date of pay­ment.

Monies are to be paid im­me­di­ate­ly.

 

 

By: Cassandra Thompson-Forbes

 

 

 

 

https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/attorney-tells-tha-chief-sec-to-fire-himself-6.2.1029441.f17f3d1b2b

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