The media report that headmaster of St. Bernard’s Primary School Everton Briggs has entered the race for president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is not news that should ordinarily create alarm in the public space. Across the Caribbean principals are routinely elected to the executive of school unions.
Today’s press report refers to Briggs’ possible conflict of interest because he served on the BUT executive when Karen Best was president, currently the Chief Education Officer. There is mention that Briggs’ appointment at St Bernard’s Primary School came after Best was in the role of Chief Education Officer. Note that Karen Best was a principal and president of the BUT.
There is enough grist in the report to pique the curiosity of fair minded citizens as to why Briggs wants to throw his hat in the ring at this time- as is his right. If one accepts how the BUT is designed to operate, the executive directs (or should) direct the workings of the BUT. If Briggs deviates then BUT’s Constitution its allow for the membership to deal with ultra vires behaviour by bringing a vote of no confidence. However, the reality of how associations in Barbados operate is another matter and how it commingles with a passive and politically polarized membership is a factor not to be underestimated. These associations are usually heavily influenced by the traits of the leader.
The blogmaster for the last ten years has sided with those who calling for civic minded Barbadians who serve the public to exercise a high level of probity. There is nothing wrong with Briggs being ambitious, the BUT membership will have to decide!
If we engage in a back of the envelope historical analysis of the rise of Ronald Jones from BUT president to that of minister of education and the appointment of Karen Best, also a former BUT president to Chief Education Officer under his watch. There is enough to inform a perspective that the position of BUT president is seen and have been used as a vehicle for political- in its general definition- advancement. We should be aware of how interlocking relationships can breed incestuous and unprofessional behaviour.
The blogmaster does not have evidence to ascribe political or less than honourable motives to Briggs, however, in recent years across the union leadership it is obvious there has been clear evidence of external influence. We encourage individuals to step forward to serve but there is also a need to ensure citizens are eternally vigilant and hold feet to the fire when merited.
I support Briggs !
That’s a BiG FOOT move !
As blog master yours is a responsibility of choosing words carefully. While not meaning to be reckless my mind tells me that if it walks like a duck,quacks like a duck….um is a duck,and one that stinks to the high heavens… some other body had or got interest in a St Philip constituency. Union members in Barbados too love giving way dey money.
Let us keep an eye on this space. Barbadians tend to take our eyes off the ball because we are easily distracted.
Apathy + disinterest + convenience = attitude of union membership in 2018.
Briggs or no Briggs the challenges facing the trade union movement are too great for the current crop to head off
btw, in a 2 by 4 166 sq. mile country interlocking relationships are unavoidable.
The questions is, will real objective leaders with integrity stand up?
Which horse you are backing in the race?
I don’t have a single donkey in the derby. Best wishes to all of them.
I wait to see if it will mimic the election of their sister union.
Both teachers’ unions (and others) have shortchanged and are shortchanging their members. REAL leaders are needed.
For the record Briggs was roundly rejected BUT Spencer beat Pedro Shepherd.