BVI News

Gov’t will fulfil all the demands of teachers

Dr Wheatley

Local educators have been reassured that the government will fulfil their list of demands linked to several teacher sickouts that happened in the territory last week.

Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley gave that assurance last evening while further challenging legislators to support his mission to get an extra couple million dollars in funding to overhaul the education sector.

In a statement on the sickout that took place at four primary schools between last Wednesday and Friday, Dr Natalio Wheatley said he recognised the situation is an emergency and the government needed to allocate resources to fix it.

He said it seems money can be found for emergencies in other areas but not for the education sector. However, he is determined to remedy the issues teachers face.

“Standing with teachers is not enough, we must put our money where our mouth is. We must back up our talk with actions. I challenge all elected members in the House of Assembly to support the allocation of $2 million in the upcoming budget for our schools. Let’s make sure that every single school has the money required to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our children,” Wheatley said.

Talks with over 100 teachers

The Education Minister said he engaged more than 100 teachers on Thursday regarding their list of demands and he has taken steps to have those demands rectified in short order.

“The first request was the payment of a $300 stipend … In agreement with this symbolic and practical payment from the Teachers Union, we’ve budgeted the funds in the adjustment budget passed in September and the ministry processed the vouchers. Seventy-five per cent of checks were printed this past week and are ready for distribution. The rest will follow closely after,” Wheatley said.

Outstanding salary increments coming

The minister also said the payment of outstanding 2017 salary increments to teachers was passed in the recent adjustment budget and are currently being processed. And for the first time in 19 years — as per their demand — the BVI Teachers Union have been fully involved in the salary review process.

Dr Wheatley further said the Education Ministry does not plan to start another school year with classes still happening at the Elmore High School’s (ESHS) senior campus at Pasea Estate. He said there is a major concern about the quality of structure for teachers and students.

“Money was allocated in the recently passed adjustment budget and the money has been transferred to the Recovery & Development Agency which is overseeing the project [to repair/rebuild structures at ESHS’s main campus in Lower Estate]. Geotechnical investigations, demolition of the existing site and designs will all be completed in November and should begin in January if all goes well,” Wheatley said.

Teacher’s will not be punished for protest

The Education Minister said the most challenging request by the teachers’ union is the maintenance of school facilities. He noted the school infrastructures are very old and have been poorly maintained over several years. Wheatley said Hurricane Irma further worsened the conditions of the schools in 2017. However, he mentioned the government has spent close to one million dollars on school maintenance and mould remediation. He acknowledged works are still required despite the government’s best efforts and he will be advocating for budgetary allocations to address the issues.

Finally, Dr Wheatley used his statement last evening to address what he described as fake news circulating about the docking of teachers’ pay for the silent protest.

“I have instructed my Permanent Secretary to provide a full report of the events of last week to the teaching service commission. I specifically ask that ministry recommend that no teacher is penalised for the actions relating to the sickout,” he said.

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21 Comments

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  1. Union says:

    United we stand. Divided we fall.

  2. hmm says:

    if the teachers did not put their feet down nothing would have been done? go sit down. Do what you can do with what we wish to see happening with our children schools and move to the side.

    Like 15
    Dislike 2
  3. heckler says:

    Look how quick the government found 5 million dollars for the COI unnecessary lawyers

    Like 15
  4. ah ha says:

    He took a jab at fahie who tried to throw him under the bus

  5. hopefully says:

    INCREMENTS WITH INTEREST

  6. LOL says:

    $2Million???? That is money for education? Boy go find a seat and let big people handle these issues.

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  7. Pure facts says:

    Dr. Wheatley, you are not able to do this job. That has been proven over the last three years. Education was much stronger and better managed under the previous administration. Even after the hurricanes you saw organization and management with the previous government in education. Anyone who says different is either blind or playing politics. This is the worse state that education has ever been in during my life time.

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
  8. @pure facts says:

    Education was not better managed under the previous administration. A lot of these problems existed under the previous administration and you NDP supporters continue to deny it and that is the problem. Every government overlook
    the problems and concentrate on how much money they can get for themselves, family and friends. This is not Dr. wheatley’s fault. He just happen to be the one in there when the pot boil over.

    Like 5
    Dislike 8
    • @@Pure facts says:

      I believe you are out of your mind or you are a cult member. Myron handled education a thousand times better than Natalio. No comparison. We saw results locally and regionally. Part of our problem is that we can’t give jack his jacket in this country. Natalio is a total failure on all his subjects. Education is at its lowest. We thought nobody could be worse than Kedrick on agriculture and fisheries but Natalio proved us all wrong.

      Like 6
      Dislike 4
    • @@Pure facts says:

      Why so many of us in this country tell so much untruths and are so bias. We don’t see what our behavior is doing to our country? We blind? Can you honestly compare Natalio to the last minister. Myron did a good job in education. As a parent I felt confident with him as education minister. I am trying to see if I could get my children out to the US to finish high school. The system is horrible.

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
    • @@Pure facts says:

      Making excuses for poor performance. Mediocrity is always upheld in our country. He was the minister for 3 years. THREE YEARS! Years not months and you could still sit down by your computer and use your fingers and brain to write nonsense to support this poor performance. This is why the place cannot get any better. Call a spade a spade. He is not doing a good job period…….

      • 1EYE says:

        Well if the issues are 10 yrs old and Myron was there for 8 then a lot of these issues fall at his feet. Wheatley went in enthusiastic he could improve the issues but with no funds couldn’t manage. Fahie hasn’t prioritized the funding. Myron was too divisive and that is his undoing. The Schools alone are not education and they must be repaired no if ands or buts. I don’t see much options moving fwd. Marlon/Myron for premier? Underhill for education? what are the options?

  9. Tola says:

    boy yo aint tired tell lie????

  10. Deh Watcha says:

    Why would someone be penalised for being sick?

  11. Direct Deposit says:

    I know this is a small thing but shoulndt the teachers pay and $300 stipends be direct deposit along with their paychecks? Please tell me we arent wasting resources printing checks and making people waste their time in line at one of our backwards banks. Its 2021 for peets sake.

  12. My view says:

    Myron was the better man for the job by far. No question about that.

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
  13. DADDY says:

    YOU WERE VERY OUTSPOKEN BEFORE ,BUT NOW YOUR SON PLAYING GAMES WITH THE TRUTH AND THE YOUTHS FUTURE ,/ YOU SUDDENLY TURN INTO A GHOST 👻🤔 / ITS AN INSULT TO ( MR WILLARD WHEATLEY ) AND THATS VERY APPALLING TO SAY THE LEAST

  14. none better than none. says:

    please Myron tried.. but he fell short as well… Teacher got no increment under myron. This s**t started with myron the hold up on increments was with NDP so stop the BS!! do the math.. the problem is that natalio and company suppose to fix the mess NDP left.. but they didn’t don’t know which Gov’t was worst!! ask myron what increment or salary review or any thing other than a big wall and a over price dinner is what he give teachers !!

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  15. @@@pure facts says:

    You all are part of the cult because you all giving praise to someone who mash up the education system, changing this and that just to score political points. The additional form is serving no purpose all it did is slow down the children and when it was added no provision was made to accomodate it. How you can add a class but donot provide furnitures for that class. Was the school buildings being properly maintained for the eight years that NDP in power? I know you NDP people will like us to believe that all the school buildings miraculously crumbling because they have not been maintained over the last 2 1/2 years. NDP AND VIP to blame and Myron carry more blame because he had 8years to rectify what is wrong Natalio only had 2 1/2. What the Teachers doing now should have been done many years ago.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  16. 20/20 lens says:

    We the people of the BVI have problems. We are at the point where we do not know how to differentiate between good and bad or between wrong and right. We are compromised by politics, prejudices and small island mentalities. The NDP did a very good job with education. We saw growth and progress in many areas in the education system. We may not have liked all of them but we saw good, steady improvements. If we cannot recognize that then we deserve this horrible government that we have now. On the other hand, this government has done an awful job. It’s problems after problems after problems. It is like no one is in charge and the minister seems to not know much about what is going on in his own ministry. Nothing with education. Nothing with agriculture and fishing. How could the stimulus money be given out and you as minister know nothing about it? It says a lot about you.

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