by LK Hewlette (for the St.Kitts-Nevis Observer News ):- St. Kitts Teachers Union President Bishop Ron Collins says the organization is satisfied with the level of dialogue and involvement the new government has afforded the Basseterre High School stakeholders.
Criticized by former government ministers about certain BHS stakeholders’ “silence” since the new administration took office, Collins said there has been no need for public clamor because of the new discourse between them and the government.
“There has been honest, cordial, respectful engagement of the SKTU in the process. The SKTU is fully aware of what is going on and has been fully part of the process including meeting and making presentations not only with the Ministries of Education and Health, but as far up as the Cabinet,” he explained.
He said this is the only reason there has not been a need for the level of reaction as was seen when the SKTU and former government clashed over the BHS saga.
“There has been an improved level of communication, unlike what was there before. We now have an open door policy; we have been able to voice concerns and issues, and information is being shared with us as it becomes available.”
Collins said this cooperative spirit has extended beyond the BHS matter and includes the entire work program of the SKTU.
“There really has been a tremendous improvement. So we are well aware of where things are at. We are being more than actively involved now in a solution to the whole thing.”
The BHS management has also been part of the communications regarding decisions being made about the school, he informed.
The SKTU members only took certain actions before because of the way they were engaged, Collins explained, being excluded from the process and having to fight for the right to be included.
“We had a whole troubled past in terms of involvement and so on with that whole thing, but that is not the case right now. What it is, is that there is nothing for us [to have to go to the public about].
“It’s a non-issue. We have not spoken because it is not an issue, there has been no cause for us to.”
The modus operandi still exists, the SKTU president noted, of first seeking to get issues heard and for the government to engage them. He said because in the past there had been resistance and refusal to engage, then they had taken the necessary action.
“Not that there haven’t been any concerns or issues but we have been able now to dialogue and resolve them.”