Because there has been some doubt created, because there has been some
confusion generated, because therefore some uncertainty has crept in, I thought
it necessary for me to again repeat and reiterate that public and assisted
primary and secondary schools in St. Lucia will open for the new academic year
tomorrow – Wednesday, September 1st.
I know that parents have been told and repeatedly reminded, in what has been a
virtual crusade by the SLTU President, that teachers are having a meeting on
Wednesday September 1st, with the implication that there will therefore be no
school on that day.
The fact is that parents and students can be assured that school will open
tomorrow, September 1st.
I have no doubt that there are some teachers who will opt not to come to school
tomorrow and will instead go to a Union meeting called on a school day with no
authorization sought from or given by the Ministry of Education. But equally, I
have no doubt that there will be many committed and dedicated teachers at school
tomorrow who would not even contemplate the thought of leaving their students
unattended so as to go to hear Dolor say the same things over and over again. So
parents need not worry about the care and supervision of their children at
school tomorrow – this is assured. In any event, the Supervision Unit of the
Ministry of Education – headed by the Chief Education Officer – has put systems
in place to ensure that children will be adequately supervised at school
tomorrow even in the event of a low turn out of teachers at any particular
In the circumstances, I am appealing to all parents to do the right thing and
send your child to school tomorrow, rather than allow your child to be absent
for the first day of school.
To the teachers, I wish to say this – no matter how often a lie is repeated it
still remains a lie. This Minister and this Government have never sought to be
unfair or unkind to the teaching profession in St. Lucia. Yes we have sought and
will continue to seek to push as hard as we can to give the children of this
country the best education that our meagre resources can provide. And yes there
are times when this push can appear to put more pressure on teachers, as it does
on the students and on parents too. But it is only by pushing as hard as we have
that we have made the progress that we have in recent years, which we as policy
makers, administrators, principals, teachers, students and parents are all proud
Let no one mislead you into the view that as employees it is your right, and not
that of your employer, to determine the work schedule. Just imagine how chaotic
business, industry and society would be if in fact it were left to the employees
rather than the employer to determine where, when and how the job is done in any
I have a history, longer and more successful I might add than those who now
occupy the leadership of the Teachers Union, in the struggle of the workers of
this country, and I will be the last person to seek to deny workers their due.
But, let us be realistic and not have exaggerated expectations.
Let it be remembered too that, for all the names I have been called, it is I who
shifted my position from the original date of August 30th to September 1st when
arguments were advanced as to why school should not open in August.
In any event, my mission here is not to defend myself. I continue to assert that
I cannot force teachers to attend school on any particular day, nor can I force
parents to send their children to school on any particular day, but I have done
what is my duty and responsibility as Minister of Education, I hope you will do