President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is accusing some Government ministers of attempting to discredit high-ranking union officials and belittling the union’s work in a bid to hide their incompetence and that of some of the senior officers in the ministries they run.
Redman took special aim at Minister of Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, who last night claimed that Redman was prepared to shut down the island’s school system over a matter involving her son, who was terminated from the teaching staff at St Michael School.
Speaking at Democratic Labour Party St Michael East branch meeting at the St Giles Primary School, Inniss called on the BSTU head to “stop with the wishy-washy rhetoric” and address the question: “Is it the child you gave birth to for whom you want to shut down the school system in Barbados this week?”
In a swift response, Redman told Barbados TODAY her relationship with the fired teacher had nothing to do with the case.
In any event, she said, Inniss had “expressed horror” at the termination and was now singing a different tune simply because he had since learned that the person involved was related to her.
“Mr Inniss has asked me to say what the relationship between the member involved in the outstanding grievance matter is to me. The fact is that that relationship has absolutely no relevance to the facts of the case. The facts stand on their own, objectively and separately from any relationship to me.
“It is interesting that at the last Social Partnership meeting, after the meeting was apprised of the facts of the case and before minister Inniss knew of any relationship between myself and the member, he expressed horror at the matter, chastised the recalcitrance of the public officers involved in the delay, sought to distance ministers of Government from such action of senior public officers and even sought to admonish the unions for representing such officers . . . when they were at fault,” the BSTU leader told Barbados TODAY.
“What I don’t understand is how comes these strong opinions expressed two weeks ago have so fundamentally changed on learning of a relationship between the member and myself. How has the supposedly objective facts changed to elicit such comments from him?”
Redman insisted that any union member was entitled to representation, regardless of the person’s relationship with the leader, while also questioning whether Inniss’ comment smacked of victimization, adding that her relationship to the fired teacher was revealed to the general membership two days after the matter became a dispute.