Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) employees held a protest on Tuesday morning demanding the removal of the institution’s manager and consultant Dr. Iva Dahl and called for the government to intervene on a number of outstanding issues.
Standing in front of the campus, the employees held up posters and chanted “Iva gat to go, Iva gat to go,” the employees claimed that Dr. Dahl wrongfully fired employees for personal reasons and continues to wield the sword of victimisation.
An English professor at the institution, Andrew Stuart said that something has to be done.
“The turnover in staff has been really high and people are just tired, people what some relief and we have dealt with the government, we dealt with the Ministry of Labour, we had a board convened to hear our concerns but nothing has still been done and we can’t believe that they can allow one woman run over a whole institution,”
BTVI former security officer Michelle Major said she has been with institution for 16 years but was wrongfully terminated by Dr. Dahl last year.
“I have records to show appraisal forms and everything else to show that I have been victimised under her watch,” she said.
“I have been under five managers, had no problem, as soon as she arrived seven years ago it was all but chaos around BTVI and I don’t feel that it is right. I wrote numerous amounts of letters to the permanent secretary, the minister, nothing has been done. Everybody is hurting around here and it is so sad because I am the sole provider of my family and I’m not working at this present time because of her personal issues and it is not right.”
However, officials at BTVI officials dispelled the employees’ claims of victimisation.
Dean of Construction and Workforce Alexander Darville said that employees are not being victimised and that Dr. Dahl is the ideal boss.
Mr. Darville said that permanent and pensionable employees affected by terminations were simply redeployed by their employer, the Ministry of Education.
He added that employees were given more than enough time to confirm if they wanted to stay with the institution before its transition to an independent body.
“BTVI has a two tier employment, we have what we call permanent and pensionable, those individuals are employed by the Ministry of Education, the thing about autonomy started almost three plus years ago, so the institution would have had a number of meetings indicating to persons that if you’re thinking about staying with BTVI, indicate that to the institution,” he said.
“Some persons indicated others persons didn’t indicate so those persons who didn’t, they were not budgeted for.”
Minster of Labour Shane Gibson, while outside of Cabinet on Tuesday told reporters that he met with BTVI employees a few months ago regarding a number of serious issues.
However, he said that BTVI is now an autonomous body and for this reason the matters were turned over to BTVI’s chairman.
“Those concerns which we consider to be very serious, we’ve shared them with the chairman of the council, Felix Stubbs, he responded back to me, letting me know that they will a have thorough investigation,” he said.
“I wait to hear the results of those investigations but I can tell you, there is very serious issues there where careers are being threaten in our opinion unnecessarily and hopefully the council at BTVI will get to the bottom of it.” he said.