by Linda Straker
- Public Workers Union representative on TA Marryshow Council appears to be an accommodation
- Justification was for PWU represented workers on to have a voice on the council
Legal research is showing that the Public Workers Union (PWU) representative on the TA Marryshow Council appears to be an accommodation for the union to have representation, and not a mandate in accordance with the legislation which established the setting up of the college.
Pamela Moses, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skill Development & Education Outreach has confirmed that the anomaly has been identified and a legal solution is in the making. “This is something we have identified and whereas justification was provided for the accommodation, not now but a long time ago, nothing was done. We will take the necessary steps to resolve that irregularity on the council moving forward.”
Moses said she learnt that the justification to accommodate the PWU was for the workers who are represented by that union to have a voice on the council. “So yes, it’s true the union is not named in the legislation but it is represented on the council,” she said.
Rachel Roberts, the President of the Public Workers Union is sitting on the council representing the workers employed by the council. The TA Marryshow Community College Act which was approved in 1996 and had some amendments in 2009, only provides for two representatives from the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT).
More than 200 persons working at the college are employed by the council and are represented by the PWU, while others are represented by the GUT. Former council members have confirmed that before Roberts, former presidents Adrian Francis and Madonna Harford also represented the PWU workers on the council. The irregularity was also known to these former council members.
Two former chairmen of the council have confirmed that the accommodation for the PWU is something that has been questioned by former and current council members. “We reviewed the TAMCC Act and also the amendment in 2009 but we could not find any legal amendment. We understand the spirit of the decision but it’s not in the keeping with the letter of the law,” said a former council member.
According to the legislation which converted the education institution into a statutory body, the Constitution of the Council shall be appointed after the Minister has a consultation with the Education Advisory Board and the various bodies specified in the legislation.
The council which shall consist of the following persons two of whom the Minister shall designate as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectively:
- two representatives of the Grenada Union of Teachers;
- three persons to represent the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the tourism sector and the agricultural sector;
- one representative of the Principals Association of Secondary Schools;
- one representative of the student body of the College;
- one representative of the Grenada Institute of Professional Engineers;
- two persons appointed by the Minister;
- the Principal, ex officio; and
- the Chief Education Officer, ex officio.
The Registrar shall be the Secretary of the Council but without the right to vote at meetings of the council.
The current council members most of which were appointed or re-appointed in August 2019 are:
- Augustine Vesprey
- Lincoln Morgan
- Dr Jeffery Britton
- Rachel Roberts
- Lydon Lewis
- Dunstan Campbell
- Mark Kitchen
- Dominic Jeremiah
- Jason Williams
- Angella Finlay
- Roshm Abraham
- Marva Bowen-Neptune
The workers of TAMCC have been engaging in daily industrial protest over the council’s inability to pay increments dating back to 2014 and tallying beyond EC$6 million.
As it is a statutory body, government is not involved in the daily operations and management of the college which as off2018 had an increase in subvention to $14.9 million from the EC$12 million which falls under the expenditure of the Ministry of Education.
Moses said that a plan has since be requested from the council for government to know how the council plans to resolve the issue. Statutory rules do provide for the relevant ministry through the Ministry of Finance to provide a bail-in. The government can also give approval to increase tuition fees so that the college can have an increase in revenue.