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Bannister blames Beacon teachers for allowance delays

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama-Minister of Education Desmond Bannister said teachers at Beacon School submitted what appeared to be incorrect claims for special allowances, causing a delay in payments.

The teachers at the school staged a sick-out in November 2010, complaining that they had not been paid special allowances for almost a year-and-a-half.

Yesterday, Bannister confirmed that all but one of the teachers were paid their automatic$750 allowance this week.

The reason that one teacher did not receive that allowance, he explained, was because of an”administrative error.”There was a discrepancy in the name that was submitted by the school and the name that was on the register, according to Bannister.

The hold-up in the payments, he explained, was due to a number of apparent incorrect submissions.

“Submissions were put in with respect to three different activities that teachers were supposed to be doing at the Beacon School at the same time, which is physically impossible,”he said.

“… The Ministry of Education needed time to clear through all that bureaucratic nonsense that was submitted.”

Submissions were put in for teachers for remedial, after school and junior Junkanoo programs, Bannister said, which should have all been occurring at the same time.

These submissions were made without supporting documents, providing evidence that the teachers had actually completed the activities, he continued.

“When the Beacon School puts in the allowances properly as they ought to, there ought to be no problem with them getting it. But when you put in three allowances, for teachers doing three different activities at the same time, it raises suspicions. We had to review the figures, we had to review everything and make determinations as to what would be paid,”Bannister said.

When contacted for comment on the matter, principal of the Beacon School Cheryl Wood said that although there were still some allowances outstanding, the teachers all got the base allowance that was promised.

She said that to the best of her knowledge, there were no such errors on the allowance submissions.

“From this end, there were no administrative errors from the office of the Beacon School,”Wood said.

“I have absolutely no knowledge of that. I don’t know what he’s talking about. From this end, submissions were given as they were always done. Ever since I came to the Beacon School, I submitted in the same way that I have always submitted. So if there’s some administrative error, it was certainly not from the Beacon School’s end.”

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