BUT to take Ministry of Education to court over school conditions

The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) is taking the Ministry of Education to court this morning over conditions at Carlton Francis Primary School and C.H. Reeves Junior High School.

Speaking to reporters outside C.H. Reeves on Friday, Kahlil Parker, who serves as the union’s lawyer, said, “We will not continue to engage in their charade.

“We will go to court and I expect the justice system to produce the results that we need to resolve these ongoing issues. Industrial relations cannot progress until we have a situation where the government realizes that they are accountable to the people.

“They are accountable to the people who work for them. And they are accountable to the laws that are on the books and the industrial agreements that they sign. I am outside the gate. I am gonna hop in my car and I am gonna drive off and I’m gonna see them in court on Monday.”

Parker and BUT President Belinda Wilson were reportedly invited to the school for a tour with officials from the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Attorney General.

However, according to Parker, the tour was canceled because of media presence on the campus.

“We cannot resolve these issues if people are afraid of scrutiny and are afraid to have these disputes resolved in the public view,” he said.

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Among other issues, Friday’s incident was a catalyst to the union’s legal action, according to Wilson.

“The focus of the court matter is multi-fold actually because it’s two schools that we’re dealing with,” she said.

“Actually, for eight weeks now, teachers [at Carlton Francis Primary School] have been reporting to work and locked out of the gate with police presence, security officers. So, they’ve not been allowed on their jobs and their salaries have been cut.

“And for C.H. Reeves, we’re dealing with the health and safety of all the teachers and the students, and their (teachers) salaries have been cut. So, that’s the basis of our court matter.”

Teachers at C.H. Reeves raised concerns about mold and water leakages in classrooms, termite and rat infestations and non-functioning bathrooms, among other issues.

In July, Lloyd assured that the school would be ready for classes in September.

However, Wilson said that there are still concerns on the campus.

The case is expected to be heard before the Supreme Court at 9:30 a.m.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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