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Teachers give Education Minister ultimatum over outstanding increments

- Minister meets with teachers on way forward
In a letter widely circulated, teachers have given Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL) until March 31, 2023, the end of the Lent Term, to pay all outstanding increments to them. Photo: GIS/File
According to the letter dated January 20, 2023, by the ‘Teachers of the Virgin Islands’, the Education Minister was told that the cost of living in the Virgin Islands has skyrocketed, yet salaries have not risen to match inflation. Photo: VINO/File
According to the letter dated January 20, 2023, by the ‘Teachers of the Virgin Islands’, the Education Minister was told that the cost of living in the Virgin Islands has skyrocketed, yet salaries have not risen to match inflation. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- In a letter widely circulated, teachers have given Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon Sharie B. de Castro (AL) until March 31, 2023, the end of the Lent Term, to pay all outstanding increments to them.

According to the letter dated January 20, 2023, by the ‘Teachers of the Virgin Islands’, the Minister was told that the cost of living has skyrocketed, yet salaries have not risen to match inflation.

Salaries do not reflect the ‘rhetoric’

“Year after year, we hear the chants of how "essential" teachers are, yet our salaries still do not reflect this rhetoric. It is unfair, that the persons at the heart of education system, while having to be concerned for the well-being, and education of the territory's children, must simultaneously be worried and concerned about being able to afford groceries and pay bills.”

The letter did not state what action would be taken if the ultimatum was not met.

Hon de Castro, a former teacher, met with the teachers yesterday to hear their concerns.

Minister meets with teachers

Speaking on International Morning Braff show on Tola Radio VI this morning, February 10, 2023, Hon de Castro said she received a letter on Friday February 2, 2023, from the BVI Teachers Union making representation for payment for outstanding increments.

Upon receiving the letter she said she “swiftly reached out to the President of the BVI Teachers Union and subsequently requested a meeting with the Union so their concerns could be addressed in person, “and we could ultimately seek to achieve a common ground in the matter as it is something that is outstanding a long period of time.”

She said the meeting was held yesterday, February 9, 2023.

According to Hon de Castro, the intention of the meeting was “soley” to give teachers a direct audience with her self and team and representatives from the Ministry of Education were also present.

‘Good conversation’ had with teachers- Hon de Castro

“We had a very good conversation with the teachers that ultimately led to us coming to a common decision on the way forward.

She said the teachers requested of her exactly what they wanted her to do and champion for them in Cabinet, “and we settled on that reality and I expect to do just that.”

Hon de Castro also said she told the teachers the matter of increments has to be swiftly dealt with but more importantly, and to create some level of balance, the matter of teachers salary is what must be addressed with urgency “or else we would be faced with some significant challenges that none of us would even begin to imagine.”

She said up to Wednesday last there was a meeting with legislators and the Compensation Review team and she used the opportunity to champion increased salaries for teachers.

It is unclear whether the March 31, 2023 ultimatum for all increments owed to be paid still stands, as the President of the BVI Teachers Union, Tammy Henry, did not respond to our request for comment.

Some three years of increments are reportedly due to teachers.

35 Responses to “Teachers give Education Minister ultimatum over outstanding increments”

  • Citizen (10/02/2023, 11:15) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    While taxpayers here paying for all the Governors party and queen birthday celebrations, our teachers cannot get increments and a decent salary.
    • DON'T FORGET (10/02/2023, 11:51) Like (33) Dislike (4) Reply
      Greedy Bill, assistant grants to fisherman that don't fish, farmers that never farm, multiple consultancies and project overruns, 300k a/c repair, 1m elevators, frequent flyer miles.... I would list more but my fingers don't got the energy.
      • @DON'T FORGET (10/02/2023, 13:12) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
        All gossip and maliciousness. We all need our increments as public officers, but it is clear that this is politically motivated.
        • HMMM (11/02/2023, 23:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          We're is the gossip? What DON'T FORGET said is true. Plus my sister is a teacher and app they get is promises... They cannot eat promises. This is really sad that people feel teachers do not deserve a raise or the increments that they worked hard for.
    • Who Wrote That Letter (10/02/2023, 12:28) Like (7) Dislike (15) Reply
      My question is who prepared that letter submitted by the teachers with the grammatical errors and lack of spacing between paragraphs.

      The entire letter lacked formatting. A teacher prepared such?

      Imagine the students’ English papers that were graded incorrectly.

      As for the timeframe given for Government to respond, it is unreasonable.

      Amongst the traits the letter claimed the teachers teach children, two should be to be realistic and reasonable.
      • Betty Boop (11/02/2023, 00:56) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
        @ who wrote that letter, English is not black people''s tongue. Poor grammar or not the receiver of the letter understood the message. If you were a teacher you wouldn't talk such rubbish...poor grammar my a$#. Go take a long walk on a short beach quickly.... Nonsense
    • @ Citizen (10/02/2023, 12:32) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
      Don’t forget we paid for his legal bills but the poor former speaker had to pay out of pockets
    • @citizen (10/02/2023, 13:42) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
      Not only do taxpayers pay for all the Governors party and queen birthday celebrations but also his fancy car, his maid, butler, chef, gardener, other domestic staff & expenses, the upkeep of the office, his increase in staff and pay the salary of the local staff, his guess, his security, and many more that have him living in luxury and safety.
    • BVIEC (10/02/2023, 17:31) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
      We soon gonna give the government our own ultimatum down here at this hazardous power station. No money to feed our families we risking our health and lives down here inhaling dust from Ashley, inhaling exhaust gas from these engines, inhaling the toxic garbage being burnt at night. It will be 30 days of darkness because we fed up too! So it best yall raise the pay right across the board.
  • Really (10/02/2023, 11:24) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
    This is why the beast system is going to activate you all complain about everything. Stop working for these sodomites work for yourself. You have skills put it to use. Many people here can do some many things for themselves to better themselves but they rely too much on the system. Everything you blame the government but I blame you as the people for keep on supporting them. The are talking about money money money and this is why they are going to get rid of it and also usher in the control Mark of the beast system. You want to buy steak and the government decides that you don't deserve it you won't be able to get approved for it. You want to go someplace they can say no and if you go you will have to pay a fine or go to jail so what does this sound like. These government officials are reading nothing but script and nothing is getting solved. The minimum wage is 6.00 a one bedroom is 1200 and up so you better wake up. All elections is devil rituals and you need to stop voting. The do blood sacrifices around those times. Watch and you will see dead animals all over the roads and deaths will happen in the big businesses
  • This is not right (10/02/2023, 11:40) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
    Only if foolish custom can follow listening to management telling them a bag of lies especially the big potato head nose one only care about trying to pay his mortgage and not about the officers
  • 2023 (10/02/2023, 11:48) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    our political leader must pay far more attention to home affairs

    stop neglecting our people year after then trying to play catch up

    look at our highways, year after no repairs but come time for elections, fixing this and that: blowing up phone and my good those who neglected us for 3 years at your door step every hour

    Mr elected official for 2023 shift the focus the foreign investors to our home land
  • Xxx (10/02/2023, 12:33) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    Ms Decastro did very well on the morning brave show with heritage
  • watcher (10/02/2023, 12:40) Like (16) Dislike (10) Reply
    Some of those teachers too bad minded. They out there saying they will pretend to be with the Minister, pacify her for now but hoping that she does not get re-elected. She is good for the Ministry of Education and she has proven herself. She needs a chance to put some of ther ideas/programs to work but the bad-minded people out there. God help us all.
    • Teacher (11/02/2023, 23:15) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
      I am 100% for the Minister of Education. Even though the salary sucks I really like her vision for Education.
  • civservant (10/02/2023, 12:49) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    pay us our money
  • yapping (10/02/2023, 13:29) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    The politicians fiixed up themselves first
  • Young Public Officer (10/02/2023, 13:32) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
    As a public officer who is not political, I have to comment on this matter. The public officers were owed outstanding increments since the NDP eight-year reign in government, and it got worse after the two category five hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. They made no effort to pay them. In fairness to this VIP government, they took office in 2019 and had to deal with the increments and all the damages from the hurricanes that were left unaddressed and also deal with covid that shut down the world and the world's economy for which we are still feeling the effects. However, to be fair to the VIP Government they did pay a few of the outstanding increments despite the challenges especially the financial ones. I really think this issue is one that needs resolving for the whole public service, but we cannot say that the government since 2019 to now has not been doing a fairly good job of addressing the issue of outstanding increments given the challenges globally and not because it is election time, we should make it seem otherwise.
  • TEACHER P (10/02/2023, 13:37) Like (5) Dislike (7) Reply
  • @ @" CITIZEN (10/02/2023, 14:23) Like (0) Dislike (8) Reply
  • Strupes (10/02/2023, 14:31) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    All these government ministers doing is talking talking talking and no action is being done to sort the teachers… hence the shortage of MUSIC teachers
    • Truth (11/02/2023, 23:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Shortage of all teachers just now ..give it time. Teachers going soon start feeling sick again!
  • HOUSE (10/02/2023, 14:54) Like (15) Dislike (3) Reply
    Some of them teachers lack the skills to communicate effectively with their students.
  • My perspective as a teacher (10/02/2023, 15:05) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    To me this government was faced with the most challenges of any government in the history of the BVI since taking office in 2019. Despite the few negatives they did well for education.
    - They did pay a few of the long outstanding increments for public officers which included teachers.
    - They did try and meet teachers halfway with other concerns and solutions.
    - Repaired BFEC Secondary Buildings from the 2017 hurricane damages
    - Repaired BFEC Science lab from the 2017 hurricane damages
    - Building the new JVD school building that was long overdue for years
    - Repaired the L-shape building at ESHS which was needed since the damages from the 2017 hurricanes
    - Constructed new beautiful facilities at ESHS which were needed since the 2017 hurricanes
    - Improvements to Robinson O'Neal School facility including playground area
    - New Enis Adams primary school dedicated through private public partnership
    - Addressing the long-needed repairs to Althea Scatliffe school
    - Major repairs to the Enid Scatliffe school
    - Major repairs to Francis Lettsome school facility
    - Major repairs to Anegada school and playground areas
    - Major repairs to Willard Wheatley and the staff room
    - Laptops for all students and teachers to assist online learning during covid
    - Restarted the scholarship abroad programme which was stop after the 2017 hurricanes
    - Award over 40 scholarships yearly to citizens to study abroad
    - Fund HLSCC programmes such as culinary and hospitality training and certification
    - Fund the alternate energy certification programme at HLSCC to prepare for the new opportunities in this new area
    - Fund the marine programme at HLSCC yearly to prepare citizens for opportunities in the marine sector
    - Fund a large chunk of the budget to keep education at all levels in the territory free for its citizens
    - Continue to fund the training and retraining of educators

    These are just a few of the ongoing success stories we overlook daily that cost millions, but they must be highlighted because despite the challenges and areas that need improvement, it is safe to say that contrary to a few, the government continues to do more good than bad in education especially in the wake of covid, hurricanes and globally recessions. However, we are a society tend to only like to highlight the bad areas and make it seem as if all is loss but it isn't. I know because I came from a family that could not afford to send me abroad to college but through the scholarship programme I know have my bachelor's degree and working on my masters. So, I know good is being done and must be highlighted.
    • FYI (11/02/2023, 01:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The Government did not fix BFEC. It was done by a private entiry as well as the reconstruction of Robinson ONeal Primary School.
  • Down West (10/02/2023, 15:33) Like (2) Dislike (9) Reply
    How can this be that a Principal who is an administrator is sitting on the same side of the Teachers Union as the President of the union and still defending them? This is madness. The President needs to take a look at other teacher unions in the region and see how they are structured. On a more positive note, I commend the teachers for taking a stand regarding their increments and salary increase.
  • just an idea (10/02/2023, 15:40) Like (3) Dislike (10) Reply
    Roll back ALL Ministers & Senior officials' salaries to the day their underling got an increment. If the lower civil servants who do most of the frontline work cannot get their increment, they should not either. No more Talk, show them the respect and appreciation.

    My wife is a school teacher and the amount of money she spends on paper, ink, activities projects, numbers, etc...... just to reinforce a lesson is unbelievable.
  • Correction (10/02/2023, 15:44) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    It is 5 years worth of increments owed to all Public Officers: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. For those who are unaware, search the web for the budget estimates and do the maths to see where your salary should be if increments are up to date. They could at least do another 2 this year and another 2 next year. At least! It's rough out here!
  • Wooooooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiii (10/02/2023, 16:22) Like (4) Dislike (7) Reply
    Meantime, the college going to the dogs. No increment in damn near 20 yrs, and they want to brag about simple things that institution was created to do. It's them who need to give a bloody ultimatum. My heartfelt sentiments go out t them. Georges really let me down. Classmate, you make me hang my head in shame and disgust.
  • problem (11/02/2023, 10:11) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    to get the increments they need to cut staff levels in the civil service across the board, and they also need to start paying thier own social security , stop retiring on pension at 25 years but at the mandatory age, all these things need to happen so the public service workers can be paid a reasonable wage, but hey thats too bitter a pill to swallow
  • NDP fault it be (11/02/2023, 10:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    . NDP took all you incremnt money and give it to the plain. Dem n Dem family bread butter so didn't care.
    • Agrees (11/02/2023, 23:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      NDP should never have stopped paying people their increments. It is sad that I have to work 25 plus years to receive a poor pension but Politicians have to be elected for 8 years to get their full pension. This is not fair. Plus they get their rent paid and all kind of allowance. But a little raise/owed increments we cannot get. Price of living is mad. Sad we need to fix alot of things. Masters degree and going home with $600 dollars every two weeks my rent is 1000 plus and I have kids
  • the bay (11/02/2023, 17:20) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Teachers, allyo stick TOGETHER, them ( the Unity Government passing all kinda shitzzzzz bill, let them pass the bill, NOT ONE OF THEM GETTING MY VOTE. THEM SMART THI!! After elections, they will pass it. I AM NOT VOTING FOR NONE!!
  • Li lun (14/02/2023, 06:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don’t you see what’s happening in the uk with EMS nurses and others on strike? The government rather lose their services and not have an amicable settlement. Instead they’ve using the military to do some of those jobs and introduced laws to essentially stop industrial actions. This and previous have willfully not pay people and believe you should be grateful you’re employed.

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