Categorized | National News

Expat Teachers Given Ultimatum

Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson told The Bahama Journal yesterday that expatriate teachers are being forced to get fingerprinted or lose their job.

According to Mrs. Wilson, the fingerprinting has been happening for two weeks and was an order passed down by the Ministry of Education and enforced by principals.

The BUT president said what’s worse is that the teachers are the ones having to pay the $100 fee to get the fingerprinting done.

She said the situation escalated yesterday when the principal of C.R. Walker rounded up all 15 of the foreign teachers in the school’s bus and took them to the Criminal Records Office to be fingerprinted.

“What disturbed me this morning was when I learned that Trevor McKary, C.R. Walker’s principal, put those teachers in the school bus and sent them to be fingerprinted,” she said.

“Once it came to my attention I called her and calmly asked her why she did that. However, when I started to speak to her, she said she can’t talk to me and hung up the phone. I’ve been calling her for the past three days and I’ve been ignored.”
Mrs. Wilson said since she heard the news, she tried contacting the Ministry of Education and Department of Labour, however, all of those attempts failed.

“I’m just saying to them that they must cease and desist the fingerprinting of expatriates because it is a violation of the BUT employee code and labour laws,” she said.

“Now I know the ministry is doing a vetting process. But I told the teachers to fill out all the information and whatever else is asked of them. I just don’t want them to give any fingerprints because it is wrong.”

This recent dilemma comes after months of disagreements between the Ministry of Education and the BUT.
According to Mrs. Wilson, a lot of those issues have been resolved, but she still has a lot more things to do to bring them all to resolution.

“The three teachers who were re-assigned from Maurice Moore Primary School in Grand Bahama were finally returned to their schools last Monday,” she said.

“That matter is resolved. The pay cut that the minister said he was going to carry out because the teachers marched in front of the ministry didn’t happen. I didn’t hear of any pay cuts. However, we’re still awaiting the list of names of people that will be paid money owed by the ministry. I understand some of them would have already received their funds.”

The BUT president said she met with Prime Minister Perry Christie last week to discuss several of the matters, after which he asked her for more time to work on them.

Calls placed to Minister Fitzgerald were not returned up to press time.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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