The membership of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) created history yesterday when they elected a female leader at its helm.
And while the results were still outstanding last night, the three women who contested the post of president included Upper Carapichaima Presbyterian Primary School Principal Nirmala Chinebas-Dindial; Eastern Boys’ Government School Principal Jemima Riley; and senior teacher at Tunapuna Girls’ RC School Antonia De Freitas.
The woman selected last evening is the first female to lead the organisation since its inception in 1979.
Following the closure of the polls around 5 pm, outgoing executive officials described yesterday’s election as smooth and incident-free.
Yesterday’s election process which is held every three years, began around 7 am and ended promptly at 5 pm.
The other posts which were contested by 11 candidates included first vice-president; second vice-president; third vice-president; treasurer; and general secretary.
TTUTA’s election committee established a base school in each of the eight education districts where members could have gone to cast their votes.
However, to ensure as widespread participation as possible from members - officials said roving ballot boxes were dispersed throughout each area to accommodate teachers unable to leave their respective schools.
Outgoing president Lynsley Doodhai said this was to ensure all members at primary and secondary schools throughout T&T had the opportunity to vote.
Doodhai stressed that only members who were in good financial standing with TTUTA were able to vote.
Specially-trained teachers assisted with the election process by forming teams who would have collected the ballot box to take them to schools within the respective education district.
With TTUTA’s membership standing at 11,500 - Doodhai said based on previous voting patterns - they had anticipated between 7,000 and 8,000 persons would have turned up to vote.
Up to 7 pm yesterday, officials were unable to confirm just how many persons had participated in the election. The official results are expected to be announced within the next 24 hours.
At the close of the election, the ballots would have been tallied at the respective base schools - following which the results were forwarded to TTUTA’s head office in Curepe.
However, officials were also mandated to bring all the ballot boxes to the head office where the votes would have been counted a second time and would be stored.
Doodhai, who has served two consecutive terms on TTUTA’s executive was statute-barred from contesting yesterday’s election.
He served as second vice-president from 2013 to 2016, and then as president from 2016 to 2019.
Revealing he was satisfied with the strides made during his tenure, Doodhai said, “I have no ambition to return again. I am glad to move on.”
Having recently completed his law studies, Doodhai said he was eager to pursue other interests such as publishing material for use by students writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam and other professional opportunities.