Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Sinanan returns to TTUTA as president
Former first vice-president of the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Devanand Sinanan is returning to the association as president. Sinanan’s team—the new TTUTA (TNT)—won the association’s elections on Wednesday. The team won all six positions up for grabs. TTUTA’s election secretary Edward Ramsumair said yesterday over 7,000 teachers out of an 11,000 membership, voted.
Sinanan resigned from TTUTA earlier this year after he was promoted to the post of principal of Palo Seco Secondary School, but supporters urged him to run for president. Sinanan amassed 3,692 votes ahead of Nicolas Cooper-Neaves, of Marabella South Secondary School, who got 2,056 votes while the other presidential candidates, Cuthbert C Joseph and Amral Hosein, received 1,259 and 118 votes respectively.
Incumbent first vice-president Antonia De Freitas defeated Claudette Governor by 2,180 votes to retain her position while Lynsley Doodhai and Martin Lum Kin were voted in as second vice-president and third vice-president respectively. Fitzroy Daniel and Gewan Durga also took the positions of general secretary and treasurer as they were also successful at the polls. According to Ramsumair, the election process was successful notwithstanding the rain and the closure of several schools.
He said because polling stations were mobile and teachers were not assigned to vote at any particular stations, all members had a chance to vote. “I think it went quite well. There were one or two hiccups. The first thing was that the weather in some places interfered with the process but other than that it was quite ok. “We had some areas where schools were closed for different reasons. The usual thing is they had water problems and the various types of infestations that prevented teachers from being in schools.
“They weren’t able to vote at their school but our process allowed them to vote anywhere they can, because technically the whole country is one constituency, although we divided the country in 76 polling divisions for convenience of balloting. “Our elections allow for the teachers to be visited at the schools so that in our case the elector don’t go to the station, the station goes to the electors,” Ramsumair said.
Although elated by his team’s victory, Sinanan lamented the way candidates campaigned, saying it entailed some of the same smear tactics used by politicians in the runup to last Monday’s local government elections.
Asked how he felt about the victory, Sinanan said, “Elated of course, relieved, because the campaign was particularly tough. The six candidates on the TNT team, we visited over 600 schools in T&T. We were able to touch almost every school and go in and talk to the teachers and try to whip up support, sell our message, our manifesto and pledge what we intend to do. “So now that we have the election actually over, we are first of all relieved that it’s all over and we are very elated.
“Unfortunately, while we maintained a professional campaign in terms of selling our message, selling ourselves, being very positive and professional in our interactions with the teachers, what we found was our opponents unfortunately did not maintain the same professional standards.” Sinanan said the new executive will get down to work on negotiating salaries, upgrading teachers’ positions and the revision of the Continuous Assessment Component of the Secondary Entrance Assessment.
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