Tuesday 20 August, 2019

BUT General Secretary happy with recent elections process

BUT General Secretary Herbert Gittens (right) in discussion with BUT President Sean Spencer during counting on elction night, April 12

BUT General Secretary Herbert Gittens (right) in discussion with BUT President Sean Spencer during counting on elction night, April 12

It has been about two weeks since teachers associated with the Barbados Union of Teachers went to the polls, re-electing Sean Spencer as president.

He won with 174 votes over former president Pedro Shepherd with 154 votes and newcomer Nathaniel Boyce who garnered 55 votes.

Reviewing the polls, the Union’s General Secretary Herbert Gittens says he is happy with how thing went on the day but tells Loop News he would like to see more active participation from the roughly 1, 800 members.

“For the last 10 to 12 years or so, we have been getting a turn out below 500.  Normally when you have the top executive officers facing election, the turn out increases, depending [on who is up for election/re-election].  In this case, the president was up [for re-election] this year and the treasurer. . ..  The other officers, the vice president, the general secretary, the deputy general secretary, the public relations officer – the four key officers they were unopposed so we expected around the range of 300 to 400. 

“We ended up with around 385.  Based on what was happening previously, we don’t think that that was a bad turn out even though, I must say that I would like to see more teachers getting involved in the process, this is your union we have about 1 800 members and I believe that members should be involved in choosing who they want to run the affairs of the organization,” he said.

Gittens explained the voting process went very smoothly, with no issues being reported. He was also full of praise for the decentralized voting process started three years ago.

“Before we kept polling right here at Barbados Union of Teacher.  We decided to open up a little more and now we are voting at four stations . . . the B U T which is the main Headquarters and we’re voting now . . . we had stations at the Deighton Griffith Secondary, Princess Margaret Secondary and West Terrace Primary School [and] we didn't have any complaints. 

“I believe it works [since] those who live in the northern part of the island [they] would not have had to come all the way to the Barbados Union of Teachers.  If you live in St Philip, St John, part of Christ Church, you could have gone to Deighton Griffith or Princess Margaret.  Then there is this central location where we have always voted where people found themselves.  They got here before so this still works and we’ve found that we get most of our persons reporting to the BUT to vote,” he told LOOP NEWS.

Gittens as General Secretary, vice president Richmark Cave, deputy general secretary Rudy Lovell and public relations officer Julian Pierre were re-elected unopposed, while Candacy Griffith defeated her closest rival Dwane Goddard for the post of Treasurer, amassing 207 votes compared to Goddard’s 149.

Executive members Andre Holder, Asha Yearwood, Adrian Blackman, Andrea Puckering, Jacqueline Prescod and Dwayne Greenidge were also re-elected and will all serve for a one-year term.

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