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LETTER OF THE DAY - JTA 'cass cass' leaves bitter taste

Published:Monday | October 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: In the last 12 months, I have refrained from commenting on the 'nastiness' that has displayed itself in the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA).

The power brokers of this powerful union must not allow it to happen again. It has left a bitter taste in the mouth of both sympathisers and detractors of this union.

First, it was the embezzlement of millions of dollars. Then the near fist fight by two ambitious and diehard members of the JTA over who should be crowned king or queen of the powerful teachers' union.

I am a staunch critic of the JTA because of its handling of matters pertaining to teachers and education over its many years of existence. I have even gone as far as to call for an overhaul of its constitution, but such a call has fallen on deaf ears.

The JTA, like many political parties, do not welcome meaningful changes since they are going to upset the apple cart and dismantle the status quo. The union in its 50th year should see it not so much as jubilation, but as judgement to make meaningful changes that are long overdue.

I believe that all that has taken place inside the JTA since 2013 should be squarely laid at the feet of the general secretary. In some organisations, the general secretary would be brought to book and, if necessary, he would be dismissed for allowing these things to happen under his watch.

Somebody must be held culpable for the wrongs that have manifested themselves in the public domain. I don't believe that my batchmate and friend Dr Mark Nicely is off the hook as these things happened during his stint as president.

Whether or not he had anything to do with them, did he move swiftly enough to put checks and balances in place? The time has come for teachers to demand better representation from successful presidents of the association. Has the JTA failed the nation's teachers? What do you think?

Harvey Brown

Educator and administrator