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posted 17 Dec 2012, 19:39 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 17 Dec 2012, 19:40 ]


TIWU President Roland Sutherland
The Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) is amazed, but not amused, at the blatant hypocrisy of Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh, who, in the wake of the Connecticut School Massacre in the USA, is running his mouth about strengthening security in schools in T&T and suggesting all kinds of measures about which he knows nothing.

This is the same Tim Gopeesingh who, in January, called for the dismantling of the security function of the National Maintenance Training and Security Company (MTS) in favour of private regional security firms, widely derided as providing food for friends and financiers of the ruling party.

The Minister talked, then, about $250 million being spent on school security and rubbished the job done by MTS for over thirty years, although there have been no instances of any major security breach in the school system during that period.

The Transport and Industrial Workers Union made it very clear, then, that we believed no expense was too high to ensure security for our children; that we would not tolerate the privatisation move and that we would strenuously and militantly oppose it.

Today, the Minister is running about the place talking about scanners and closed circuit cameras for schools and ID badges for teachers and other workers.

The Transport and Industrial Workers Union made it very clear, then, and clearly and unambiguously state that we will not support the government using the USA massacre as an excuse for once more trying to privatise the security function in our nation’s schools so that the security firms set up by those close to the government can feed at the treasury’s trough.

The boldfacedness of the government’s approach to the education system is staggering. They pretend to care so much about the nation’s children, but in practice try to turn that care into dollars and cents for their cronies and partners in the private sector.

They pretend to care so much about our children, yet they have refused for more than three years to agree to a decent wage settlement for teachers, the very people who keep the ramshackle education system afloat, often at great personal and emotional sacrifice and under atrocious physical conditions.

Our children are not being well-served when teachers are under pressure and unable to function properly in an environment of unease generated by the employer. Our children will not be well-served if the government takes leave of its senses and destroys MTS, an organisation with a generation of experience in school security, in order to satisfy the greed of those who have paid the piper and are now calling the tune with a vengeance.

The Transport and Industrial Workers Union restates its position that we will not tolerate, and indeed, we will militantly oppose any move to use the security of our children as a platform for looting the treasury through the dismantling of MTS and the privatising of its security function.

The Transport and Industrial Workers Union, further, calls upon the government through the Chief Personnel Officer to put an end to the negotiations charade with the nation’s teachers and to agree to a just and decent wage increase for our nation’s educators.