JTA ready for annual conference
Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer
Dr Mark Nicely, president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), has declared that the organisation is in a very good state of readiness for Thursday's annual general conference, though acknowledging that the likelihood of unrest is strong.
"We are ready, very ready, with the exception of the matter pertaining to the president-elect," Nicely told The Gleaner yesterday.
"We are not currently barred from proclaiming Mr (Norman) Allen president-elect of the JTA, but we know that there is the possibility that this could, in fact, occur, and so we are mindful of that, even as we go ahead and prepare for our conference," he added.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted an injunction filed by JTA presidential candidate Georgia Waugh Richards, barring the installation of her rival, Allen, as president-elect.
Justice Lennox Campbell granted the injunction four days after hearing arguments by Waugh Richards and the respondent, the JTA.
The attorney representing Waugh Richards had filed the injunction claiming that there were errors in the process that led to Allen being declared president-elect following a recount. Attorney-at-law Caroline Hay, who represented the JTA, opposed the application.
The decision comes ahead of the teachers' union's planned proclamation of its president-elect on August 21 at its annual conference.
In recent weeks, the JTA has been facing challenges to the results of its annual presidential race that was held in June.
After the elections were held, an initial ballot count declared Waugh Richards, principal of the Harmons Primary School in Manchester, as the winner; however, Allen, principal of the Four Paths Primary and Junior High School in Clarendon, challenged the results through the courts and after an official recount, was declared the winner.
Despite the legal issues, Nicely said the JTA was gearing up to discuss other vital matters.
"Our members are still waiting to be paid the approximately J$1 billion that is owed to the JTA," he said. "We've heard the Ministry of Education indicate that 75 per cent of the teachers will be paid; however, our interest is that all teachers are paid," Nicely said.
"As an association, we can't be appearing in any way, shape, or form that we are satisfied that some of our members are compensated and others are not. That is likely to create some problems," he added.