Wed | Sep 18, 2019

JTA: Sluggish appeal tribunal hurting teachers

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:22 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Byron Farquharson, secretary general of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), wants to see a fast-tracking of hearings by the tribunal looking into cases against teachers who are suspended or dismissed.

Of the 20 dismissal cases brought before the Teachers’ Appeal Tribunal in 2018 for hearing dates and written judgments, only four have been addressed.

Farquharson was speaking during the second session on yesterday’s opening day of the 55th annual conference of the JTA in Montego Bay.

“There are some (teachers) who appealed in 2017, and today, as I speak, they haven’t gotten a date for a hearing. It cannot be allowed to continue,” he insisted.

He said the delay in handling the appeals was negatively impacting teachers.

“When a teacher is dismissed, it means that their salary stream has been cut off and persons who have financial commitments, to include mortgage, unless you have an alternative source of income, all of that is going to go down the drain.”

While a teacher who is successful with an appeal will ultimately be reimbursed, Farquharson said it does not compensate for the stress one goes through without an income.

He is calling on the tribunal to adopt a similar policy as that which governs hearings by school boards, which mandate that cases must be dealt with within nine months.

“Some of our boards are using delaying tactics. They keep saying they are not available because they know if they are not present, the case cannot be held,” he charged. “We want a situation just like for the teacher. If the teacher doesn’t turn up for the hearing, the hearing can be held, so if the board doesn’t turn up, the case should be dispensed with.”

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