Officials of the Bahamas Educators’ Managerial Union (BEMU) said President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Belinda Wilson is “on a mission to target” a number of public high school principals and get them transferred or terminated altogether.
BEMU President Charles Wildgoose said Tuesday that the issue involving Anatol Rodgers High School Principal Myrtle McPhee is not an isolated incident, but one that extends to principals at least two other schools.
Mrs. Wilson has been calling for Mrs. McPhee’s resignation over the past few weeks, claiming that the principal has not been doing a good job in running the school in the best interest of the teachers and students.
But Mr. Wildgoose alleged that Mrs. Wilson has been going after other principals in the public school system as well including those at D W Davis and L W Young Junior Schools.
“She is on a mission and she has targeted certain principals at certain schools,” Mr. Wildgoose added. “We were summoned to D W Davis, she was supposed to show up there yesterday.
“She has also targeted L W Young and quite a few others. We are going to fight her with this.”
On Tuesday, BEMU officials came to the defense of the embattled Anatol Rodgers High School principal and told reporters that Mrs. Wilson’s actions are purely malicious.
“We are very concerned that the minister is seemingly allowing the president of the BUT to run amuck throughout the education system in our country and she hasn’t just started she has been doing this long time.
“I know her personally, I’m a former vice president myself and she joined after us. There are certain protocols that unions abide by when visiting schools. What is most astounding is that madame president of the BUT has violated her own protocols in her collective bargaining agreement.”
Mr. Wildgoose explained that while a letter signed by numerous teachers cited issues with the school and principal including smoke inhalation, mold infestation, disrespectful and non-cooperative behaviour by the principal among others, there are some inaccuracies and untruths to these claims.
He said the Bahamian public is acutely and painfully aware that was always a number of environmental concerns with the location and added that Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) has completed their assessment of the school and found that no serious environmental threat to teachers and students health at the school.
“On investigation of the facts surrounding the matter at the Anatol Rodgers High School, our union has confirmed that although the BUT president said that the issue was about mold and smoke inhalation her main focus was on getting rid of the principal of Anatol Rodgers High School,” Mr. Wildgoose added.
The BEMU, which became an official union to represent administrative staff at public schools, also took exception to a meeting in which Principal McPhee was called into last Friday at The Ministry of Education and allegedly denied the right to have her union representatives present.
“The BEMU thinks that it is politically expedient for Mrs. Wilson to carry out these acts because the BUT elections are coming up shortly and she must, I believe, she is inclined to impress her members just to get votes,” he said.
The union’s consultant Van Delaney said he believes Mrs. Wilson has an even bigger axe to grind.
“The real objective is to destabilise the BEMU because the principals and administrators has the audacity to leave her union and form her own,” Mr. Delaney added. “She has vowed to try and disrupt that.
“The only way she can really do that is to show the principals is that she is in charge that she can have them transferred or fired or they better come back to her union.”
The union said it is calling on Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald to “rein in” the BUT president.
Calls to Mrs. Wilson went unanswered up to press time.