Sean Spencer is still the teachers’ choice to lead the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT).
While voters did not turn out in their numbers, Spencer prevailed with a 20-vote margin.
He held off a stiff challenge from rival and former BUT President Pedro Shepherd, who declared he may make a third bid for the leadership next year.
Needing to overturn a 14-vote deficit heading into the last box, Shepherd’s hope of a come-from-behind victory did not materialise.
When all four boxes were counted, Spencer accumulated 174 votes to Shepherd’s 154. The other candidate in the race, Nathaniel Boyce collected 55 votes.
The mood was quiet at the BUT’s Merryhill, Welches, St Michael headquarters where only a few union members gathered.
At exactly 9:12 p.m., Spencer, clad in a blue shirt, blue jeans and red cap, strolled into the BUT for the count.
About 40 minutes later, the final total was announced, confirming his victory.
Speaking to the media shortly after re-election, Spencer promised that he would work assiduously with the union’s members to tackle the problems.
He told reporters: “We are hearing a lot of divergent views and in many cases these views are not really healthy views. The union at present has a lot of work to do and that work will require many hands to make good and to make light of the mandate that has been entrusted to me.”
He said improving communication with ministries was a priority.
He revealed that the manner in which the BUT communicates with the other trade unions and staff associations relevant to teaching also needed to be improved.
Spencer said having had a “steep learning curve” in his first year as president, he was now better prepared to handle any issues with which he is confronted with.
He said he was preparing to contact the Ministry of Education in relation to a press release which was circulated today informing of the closure of St George Secondary School next week.
Spencer said the union had not been informed of any planned action.
He said: “This evening I was alerted to a GIS release indicating that the St George Secondary school would be closed next week. I had not a clue.
“So that has to be investigated as well as to what were the causes and circumstances that led to the closure. I will also have to contact the stewards there and ascertain how they were informed as well, because if they also found out via a GIS release, that really and truly does not speak to the communication which we anticipate or which we would like to see become the norm.”
In conceding for the second straight year, Shepherd said there was a possibility he would be back.
“I tried my best and I think that I put a good enough effort into the canvas and the campaign and teachers obviously thought that the effort was not good enough for them.
“This year I lost by 20 and last year I lost by 19.
“I was saying that it would be my last but there’s a possibility that I will be back next year,” Shepherd said.
Candacy Griffith was elected as treasurer after winning 207 votes to Dwayne Goddard’s 149.
The six members of the executive committee are Adrian Blackman, Dwayne Greenidge, Andre Holder, Jacqueline Prescod, Andrea Puckerin and Asha Yearwood.