The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) used new technology and decentralized voting for the first time as they went to the polls to select a new executive today.
Teachers were able to cast their votes, not only at the BUT’s Merryhill headquarters at Welches, St Michael, but also at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School in Christ Church, Princess Margaret Secondary in St Philip, Alma Parris Secondary in St Peter, the Grantley Adams Memorial in St Joseph, and West Terrace Primary in St James.
BUT president Pedro Shepherd said the idea of decentralization was first put on the table almost a decade ago, but there had been no “buy-in” at the time.
However, based on the numbers seen early in the voting, he said he believed it was being accepted.
Talking to Barbados TODAY at the Grantley Adams Memorial just after noon, he said: “Normally, we get between 110 and 130 persons voting in any election of the executive of the Barbados Union of Teachers. So far, we are past the midday mark and we have surpassed the usual number.”
Another highlight of today’s poll was the new technology being employed to track votes throughout the day.
“We were able to create this programme, using iCloud, where when you go to a polling station and you cast your vote, your name appears on the list at the other stations as having already cast your ballot. This eliminates the possibility of someone voting twice in the BUT elections,” Shepherd explained, adding that next year the plan was to take the entire voting process online so that the over 2,000 strong membership would be able to participate in the poll.
Shepherd, along with vice-president Richmark Cave, general secretary Herbert Gittens, deputy general secretary Anthony Alleyne, treasurer Winston Massiah, and public relations officer Dwane Goddard went into the election unchallenged.
Only the six executive member positions were up for challenge, with 11 people in total contesting those posts.
Shepherd said, though, that he hoped all posts would be contested next year.
“I don’t have a problem with getting a challenge for presidency,” he said.
“It creates the interest in the union, it creates excitement, it gives teachers the opportunity to go around to the various schools and to canvass and hear from teachers what their concerns are, what are some of the issues,” Shepherd told Barbados TODAY.