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Teachers told to 'put grievances in writing' following ESHS sit-in - Premier Wheatley

-Premier said somewhere along the line is a communications disconnect where information is not being filtered properly
September 16th, 2023 | Tags: teaching ESHS strike education Natalio D. Wheatley
Following a staged ‘Sit-in’ by Teachers in the Virgin Islands (VI) over a number of issues, Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) said he met with teachers to hear their concerns and have the issues resolved expeditiously. Photo: Internet Source
On the fifth day of the new school year, teachers of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) staged a sit-in over working conditions and other issues at the school. Photo: VINO/File
On the fifth day of the new school year, teachers of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) staged a sit-in over working conditions and other issues at the school. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Following a staged ‘Sit-in’ by Teachers of the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) over a number of issues, Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) said he met with the teachers to hear their concerns and shared plans to have the issues resolved expeditiously.

Speaking to reporters outside of the school yesterday, September 15, 2023, Premier Dr Wheatley said the teacher had valid grievances where he was aware of some of the concerns, however, others were new.

Share concerns in writing - Premier Wheatley 

“They brought up some procurement issues, they brought up some issues as it pertains to the heat. They brought up the need for some shelter for the students... a number of issues. What I asked them to do is to put their grievances in writing and I would make my best efforts in having those issues resolved in combination with the ministry and in combination with with the administration,” Dr Wheatly said.

When questioned on whether some of the concerns were new, the Premier revealed that some of the specific grievances were, however, he detailed that teachers were clear that their industrial action was not a strike.

"But of course, you have issues that are part of the system that we have been making attempts to solve over the years. But some of the specific issues I heard were issues that I heard for the first time and issues that would be addressed by the system, but there are some challenges that we need to address to allow these situations to be addressed more expeditiously,” he added.

Meanwhile, the premier told reports that he wouldn't say that issues are not being dealt with, as work has been done as it pertains to schools and efforts are ongoing to address the challenges.

Communications challenges 

“But besides that, there does seem to be an issue of communication to ensure that all the information is filtering up from the school straight up to my level,” he said.

He added that as it pertains to most of the issues, “I cannot say whether they were brought to the Minister of Education, but I know that the teachers of course, would have said what they would have needed and they would have said some of the challenges that that they have. I can't say for certain that all the information has filtered up to the Minister of Education or to myself, so that's part of the challenge we're going to investigate,” he further detailed.

Premier Dr Wheatley said the investigation will try to ascertain where the disconnect is, and why some of the information is not filtering up where it needs to be filtered so that those in authority can help solve some of the challenges.

30 Responses to “Teachers told to 'put grievances in writing' following ESHS sit-in - Premier Wheatley”

  • Accountability (16/09/2023, 12:15) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    We need more of this approach as the leader has shown. Getting directly involve so a bad situation doesn’t get worse.
    • Truth (16/09/2023, 12:59) Like (15) Dislike (2) Reply
      Did you even see the JTV live interview to have somewhat of a general scope of things before making your comment?, it might be something to look into for your best interest. Out of the entire interview, one thing that was said when asked if he felt bad about this whole thing and to hear him say “no “ stuck with me like my children after child birth. He may not have meant any harm by saying so, but it does however justify that his level of urgency towards this particular situation may in fact be as small as the minds of some, if not all of the ministers on his team. Smh
  • Strupes (16/09/2023, 12:21) Like (34) Dislike (6) Reply
    He is a waste ah time
  • black (16/09/2023, 13:24) Like (9) Dislike (2) Reply
    The political games need to stop playing it's the same old song. Fix the situations at all the schools so that the teachers and students can have no excuses for not doing what needs to be done on both sides with teaching and learning.
    Once you are a school child you should follow the rules of the school, respect each other and love one another. School life is a once in a life time chance don't waste it. After school days it's hell on the outside, make your school days count.
  • pat (16/09/2023, 14:16) Like (9) Dislike (15) Reply
    I am not ready to give up on Natalio as yet
  • Electrician (16/09/2023, 14:24) Like (23) Dislike (2) Reply
    I’m not shocked to hear we can put a million dollar elevator in the government building so overweight staff don’t have to climb a few stairs but we can’t have air conditioning in the concrete bunker we call a school.
    • DEDE (17/09/2023, 15:36) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply

      Your comment lacks empathy. Did you stop to thinks about the public that conducts business at that building. Have you stop to think about the elderly, disabled and wheelchair bound that have dealing with officials there.

      • @DeDe (17/09/2023, 18:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Empathy? No such word here. There was none in the design of the state of the art brand new building that is supposed to educate and be the building block for our youths and this country’s future. My bet is there will be no empathy in the design of this over expenditure and design of the new government building, well except the elevator. Handicapped parking? Ease of access to the building? Toilets that are accessible and work? And mostly a working air conditioning system! Why is it every building in the government’s arsenal has a mold problem? Empathy, please !
        • @ @DeDe (20/09/2023, 19:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          There is no elevator at the new high school building? The government should be ashamed?
  • Manjack (16/09/2023, 14:26) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Premier Natalio Wheatley, R-7, MoF, is at the apex of the local governing triangle/structure and no one should expect him to know and be immersed in the details, the nuts and bolts, for the higher one is in an organization, one’s focus is on the big issues, the big picture, not the details. The farther one is from the apex of the governing triangle, the more verse one is in the details. Nevertheless, the leader of an organization should have processes in place, a dashboard, to keep them informed of vexing, simmering issues. The MEC should be award of these issues and in turn brief the Premier to avoid him being blind sided while she is away on government business. However, often times, layers below the Apex don’t want the big dog to know that all is not well, and they got this and sometimes things explode. Sometimes, it is the leaders fault he/she is not kept informed, current, for he/she only wants to hear good news, shooting the messenger that brings bad news. This is a zero defect mentality, ie, nothing should go wrong. Here is a news flash failures will occur and the organization will be better embracing, learning from them. Anyway there are tools available, ie Peoplesoft software, etc which have a dashboard which the top leader can access at any time to peruse how departments are doing based on set metrics.

    Anyway, education is the second most important function behind health. Consequently, its focus, aim, etc is to put the best product out the door. Graduates from BVI high schools should transition easily to colleges and universities, and adapt well in the work force, without needing remedial instruction. For the most part that is not happening now. Bunch of duncy heads, functional illiterates coming out of school, putting the territory in a non competitive position.

    To correct this situation requires adequate investment in education, ie, education master plan, programmes, facilities, human capital (teachers), adequate budgeting etc. Good teachers are in demand in developed countries and they are not shy in taking teachers, nurses etc from developing countries, resulting in skill and brain drain. Small developing countries may not be able to compete with developed countries. Nonetheless, they should be fair and reasonably compensating teachers , including psychic income. Teaching is a labour of labour of love and the environment should be set whereby teachers can acquire psychic income.
    • Instructor (17/09/2023, 08:39) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Manjack, what is psychic income? We don’t get that type of payment. Is that some type of bonus?
      • Manjack (18/09/2023, 15:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Instructor, psychic income is subjective , non-monetary, benefits, ie, personal satisfaction, pride, etc.
    • too long bro cut it down (18/09/2023, 18:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • rattie (16/09/2023, 14:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    The government was able to survey the damage the next morning. Too many civilian unrests where is the governor and DG?
  • Dancing with the Stars (16/09/2023, 14:57) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    The intervention of the Hon Premier in the matter of the teachers at the E.S.H.S is a very good gesture. That shows leadership intervention. However, the high expectation of the citizens will only serve to cause the government to divert scarce financial resources. Even though I would like to see the teachers work in the most comfortable environment, however, we must not try to compare this Territory to others. For I know very well that there are countries in the Caribbean Region that are not equip with all the facilities that we have here, and the students are obtaining as much as twenty subjects at the C.X.E level examination and they are writing C.A.P.E. Let us try to work together and build this Little Nation.
  • cap (16/09/2023, 15:01) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    It’s not just the schools. Have you ever been into Road Town ferry terminal? Or the police station? They’re a mess too, among others. This government’s priorities are in the wrong places. We want our basic infrastructure to be fixed so that the entire island can benefit. Roads, power, water, buildings etc. not free concerts and bathrooms at the beach, reparations or a new airport. If the UK came here I can say without shadow of a doubt that the right things would get fixed before money is spent on the wrong things.
  • Concerned (16/09/2023, 15:08) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
    Put the obvious in writing....strupes. when the Premier was Minister of Education he did nothing for teachers or education. What do teachers expect?
    He, the minister and new CEO are all talk. It's just time. Teachers will no longer suffer in silence. The primary schools need to take pattern. This whole education system is broken. Yet we are moving full STEAM ahead
  • WEW (16/09/2023, 15:26) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    -Premier said somewhere along the line is a communications disconnect where information in not being filtered properly. This means he's unable to understand the situation.
  • Bad Principals (16/09/2023, 15:29) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    That school will never get better because they have a set of chicken head principals running that school.
  • DON Q (16/09/2023, 16:07) Like (5) Dislike (8) Reply
    Free the drew
  • Ne Timeas (16/09/2023, 18:52) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. Hon. Natalio Wheatley, D-7, MoF, deserves an A- for effort. Experience is a priceless teacher and cannot be bought but rather earned. ManJack’s post is straight out Management Science 101. The Premier tries probably due to his training and experience in the private sector tries to apply logic in problem solving. Though that effort is commendable, the political arena is a different beast. A good political decision is not necessarily a good business decision. And conversely, a good business decision is not necessarily a good political decision. Experience guides one on the right decision based on time and circumstances. Often times, politicians are tossed into leading and managing functions in which he/she don’t know pullet from fowl just because they won a popularity contest. It is flaw in the Westminster system; the Presidential system is a little better, allowing appointing unelected people to lead functions in which they experience and expertise. As a general matter, we need to stop putting non-managers in management positions. Moreover, we typically say that Human Resource is the most important resource. If so we must effectively invest in it with no just money, but in facilities , services, equipment, technology, etc.
  • sweet talk (16/09/2023, 20:11) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The premier was the Minister of Education and sanctioned having students and teachers in an unbearably hot environment when he signed off in a building without ac. They all knew better. RDA personnel should have known better too but they are all heartless.
    • Just A Thought (17/09/2023, 20:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We blame everyone fior for everything. I s the Primere responsible for keeping pur homes cool ? If you all have been following the weather it is a heat dome causing the unbearable heat it won't last. I have spoken to many caribbean colleagues they don't have AC classes either but they produce the best students. No one has addressed the fact they concerns prior to school opening or the events that happened on the campus while the teachers left the students unattended.
  • BVI Airways (16/09/2023, 21:05) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    stop traveling and put the airfare money to better use
  • Solutions (17/09/2023, 01:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Because we hold on to things we need to release, we pay for the consequences. At this point, we need to transform five public primary schools into the structure of what Althea Scatliffe was, multiple classes of a grade. We also need to transform two primary school sites to junior high schools. We have not had any new main roads constructed to decentralize traffic congestion, so the reduction of population at the main high school has to be considered.

    Next, a centralized maintenance unit that services electrical, plumbing, flooring, painting, landscaping, carpentry and building repairs for all government buildings, including schools, needs to be properly organized/managed and funded so that scheduling of routine maintenance can be timely.

    Management of money and resources for the essential needs of growing schools has to be prioritized.
  • Cunfusion (17/09/2023, 07:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    Blame that ghetto pri**** from Rock who talk down to the teachers and undermining the education system acting as if she is untouchable while she cause confusion and demoralize the teachers.

  • It ah me (18/09/2023, 07:53) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Teachers, please dont sign your name to anything the Premier suggests, it is that he wants to use to Victimize you more.
    He already knows some of you whom he wants out for whatever the reason may be and with your name attached to the faults they created, out you would go.
    So be very careful.
    Do everything as or in groups. They cant throw out everybody at once. Thank G0od for that.

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