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Meeting with Education PS crashes: Gopeesingh bans TTUTA exec (with CNC3 video)
Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Roustan Job led a boycott of yesterday’s scheduled meeting with the acting permanent secretary in the Education Ministry, after the union’s second vice-president was denied entry to the ministry’s St Clair office.
Speaking outside the ministry, Job said the TTUTA executive was told, “Mr Carrington cannot enter the compound and instructions were given by the Minister of Education (Dr Tim Gopeesingh) to debar Mr Carrington from entering the compound.” Job said the union was not prepared to accept this, as Orville Carrington was a very integral part of TTUTA’s team. “We cannot accommodate that request at all, at all, at all,” he said.
Carrington, who stood next to Job, said TTUTA was the legally-recognised association for teachers and the ministry could not determine who its representatives should be. He said the directive given to the PS by Gopeesingh was unlawful and the acting PS was asked to provide this information in writing but did not. Job insisted there will be no compromise on demands for Carrington to be at the meeting with the PS. “So we are hoping that good sense wil prevail on the part of the Ministry of Education,” he added.
This latest development took place five days after Carrington and Gopeesingh had a verbal clash at the Cunupia Secondary School. Gopeesingh and TTUTA have called on each other to apologise for the incident, but TTUTA insisted yesterday it was not going to do so. Carrington said the union may refer yesterday’s incident to the Ministry of Labour as an industrial relations offence. He said he had no regret over his role in the incident at the school last week.
During a tour of schools in Tabaquite yesterday, Gopeesingh confirmed he instructed that Carrington was not to be allowed on the ministry’s compound. He said the decision was based on advice from his legal and security department. “The ministry took the decision that he (Carrington) would be a threat and we were advised by the legal and security department that he could be a threat to the security and safety of individuals within the ministry and workers within the ministry,” he said.
Gopeesingh defended his decision, saying it was not only based on Carrington’s recent verbal confrontation with him, but previous encounters involving the TTUTA official, including another at the ministry six weeks ago. Gopeesingh said, “As such, the minister took the decision we would not have him on the compound and until further investigations are done by the legal and security department.”
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