As a former teacher I am empathizing with the worries being experienced by teachers working in the Grenadines … genuine concerns. This relates directly to teachers who have to attend workshops in St. Vincent as well as the continuing plight students face especially when attending sporting and other cultural events in St. Vincent.
The following are the facts! On several occasions when teachers have to attend workshops, they will have to find their own accommodation and even pay their own passage because the MOE ‘didn’t budget for that’. Why is this reoccurring regularly? Yes, teachers need to upgrade their skills to impart knowledge to their students, but since travel and accommodation is required when these professionals are away from their homes, shouldn’t they be shown the respect they deserve by ensuring that both travel and accommodation needs are met, including a per diem for meals?
On the flip side of the coin, when MOE officials have to conduct sessions in the Grenadines, the hosts are expected to pick them up at the airport or seaport, with the most comfortable amenities being provided for them and any students competing in sporting events. Just recently one of the teams from the Grenadines taking part in the Inter-Primary Sports meet in St. Vincent had to wait unduly long before transport arrived, and athletes were expected to participate straight off the boat the same day without a meal. This is totally unacceptable! Arrangements should be made for athletes to arrive from at least the day before, settle in, get familiar with the competition venue and facilities in order to get the best performance from these students.
Additionally, the under 7 athletics champions from Canouan has not yet received his trophy, while other winners on the mainland have received their awards LONG ago, this is NOT fair! Why is this disregard and disrespect for residents from the Grenadines so glaring ? Any progressive government would have built a hostel to accommodate students and staff coming to the ‘mainland’ to attend sporting and cultural events long ago. The same building could also be used for longer term students and teachers attending college thereby reducing the cost for board and lodging.
It is also suggested that the person in charge of the facility be an experienced professional (preferably a senior nurse), with a doctor or nurse on call 24/7 to deal with any medical emergencies which may arise, including sporting injuries. It is high time that central government pay more attention to the Grenadines. Let’s be realistic, a sizeable amount of funds that ends up in the consolidated fund is generated from the Tobago Cays, hotels, air and sea ports, the sale of property in the Grenadines, as well as income tax from local workers. So why can’t the majority of these funds which are generated in the Grenadines, be ploughed back into these communities to develop and maintain the infrastructure in these islands?
Treat Grenadines people with respect. The Grenadines has produced Prime Ministers including a PM in St. Lucia, doctors, civil engineers, ferry operators, pilots, nurses, teachers, fishermen, scuba divers, hoteliers and the list can go on … the respect due to our brothers and sisters from the Grenadines should be automatic as they too deserve every benefit that mainlanders enjoy.
Contributed by: Donald De Riggs
October 10, 2023.