Suspended Bahamas Union of Teachers’ (BUT) president, Belinda Wilson, is happy for not only herself, the former Treasurer and former Trustee, but for all the members of the BUT which she believes have been way too quiet since her suspension.
Wilson, Lorraine Knowles and Mizpah Pintard-Munroe appeared in Court on Thursday (March 9) as plaintiffs against the BUT, which had suspended the trio over a year prior.
Wilson told this daily that the ordeal is, thankfully, over and although all of their requests regarding their petitions were not met, the ones most important to them were.
Wilson noted that she and the others have been recognized to be in good standing by the court and will be placed on the ballot for election of the three positions teachers did not vote on in June 2016 – President, Treasurer and Trustee, and to them it is indeed a victory.
“First of all I want to say justice was delayed, but not denied. I must say since this saga there have been so many complaints, where teachers feel the union has lost its voice, almost non-existent and they have compromised so much over the last year and a half,” Wilson claimed.
Wilson added that she is extremely happy for the ruling, especially after the fact the Candidates’ Committee and the Electoral Commission decided not to approve the three of them as candidates and the courts proved both null and void.
Despite being on suspension from her position as president, Wilson maintained she has still kept in touch with hundreds of teachers via social media. “I have been able to give advice, help persons with terms and conditions of their employment, assist persons drafting letters, been involved in discussions with the Public Service and able to counsel persons who have had relatives sick or die.
“I have been able to remain relevant and in communication despite my suspension,” Wilson said.
On the topic of her success now that her name will be placed on the ballot for the election of president, Wilson said that she is cautiously optimistic. “I am aware some time has lapsed and I am going to have to reconnect with some individuals I haven’t had to deal with over the last year.
“What I can say, however, is that I am running on my record of service to the members, which has not been perfect but has been consistent and effective.”
During the interview with Wilson, she claimed that while out of office the union has been silent and as a result members are suffering in silence. “Many BUT members do not believe they have received quality representation, if they received any at all,” Wilson alleged.
To the BUT members on Grand Bahama, Wilson noted that although based in New Providence as president, she would always visit at least a couple of times a year for meetings and on occasion when a matter arose beyond the scope of the Area VP.
“I have had a good relationship with the Grand Bahama shop stewards and teachers, and I see that relationship continuing moving forward.
“I would like to say during this ordeal a number of teachers in Grand Bahama have given me support and encouragement, and to them I would like to say a big thank you for the confidence they have placed in me. Come April 7, I will be ready to serve the Grand Bahama teachers as well as those in the rest of The Bahamas,” Wilson concluded.
Published Saturday, March, 11, 2017