I am concerned with the situations surrounding the Guyana Teachers’ Union Elections 2012. Something seems to be wrong somewhere. Until now, teachers of Pomeroon, Georgetown, West Coast and other areas have not yet received their ballots. It is the democratic right of each financial member to vote for the persons whom they think they would like to represent them at the Central level.
My question is, “Who is the elections officer?” Of my years of teaching, I have never seen an election so improperly executed. Did GTU even bother to check the background of the person? Does this person have any previous experience about how the process is done? In the previous years, Mr. Calvin Benn and Mr. Gilgeours were employed to do the job. They have done a much better job than the present elections’ officer. What about the people who work at GECOM? Four persons from GECOM applied and all of them were rejected, hence the problem we are faced with. When asked about how credible and efficient the process would be, members were assured that everything would be ok. All ballots would be posted early enough so as to facilitate their return in a timely manner. What is the problem then?
A monitoring team was set up in order for things to go smooth, and thank God it was set up. From the inception, things were going wrong. According to sources, all the ballots were to be placed in one package and sent to the Head teacher of the schools. Wrong move. I would not blame the Elections Officer for this, he was about to do the thing that seemed most logical to him and maybe simpler, or maybe he was being advised by the wrong set of persons. However the ballots were posted individually, due to the intervention of the monitoring team, that’s a plus. If the ballots were posted out from February 12 to February 18, 2012, they should have all reached their destinations by now. The Elections Officer is aware of this because he claimed to have spoken to the management of GPO and was assured of the length of time mails will take to get to their destinations.
On the overleaf of the ballots there was an instruction given, which stated that ballots should be posted on or before February 20, 2012. Information was later placed in the Kaieteur News and Stabroek News Newspaper informing electorates of the change of dates for the postal, since some teachers would have received their ballots after the original date placed on the ballots. Personally, I think the Elections Officer should have done more to get this information out, even if it meant sending a letter to each school or branch to inform members or being on the news often enough to update teachers. This resulted in some teachers throwing away their ballots since the date given for return of ballots had passed.
When informed about the situation, the Elections Officer did not deal with it in a manner which would have brought satisfaction to the minds of teachers and candidates. As a result of all the queries being made, the candidates were sent a progress report. In the closing part of the report, the Elections Officer stated that any candidate or electorate who divulged information about the elections without his permission would be brought before the disciplinary committee of the Guyana Teachers’ Union or taken to court. This is terrible. Is this an attempt to shut teachers up? Could anyone stop party leaders from talking about the National Elections in November 2012? Besides, this man was employed by the Guyana Teachers’ Union, how did he get this authority to decide who should speak and when? What is funny is that even the central officers are tight-lipped about this issue. The Elections Officer should be instructed to publish a report as to why teachers have not yet received their ballots and what mechanism was put in place to find out why, and to ensure that the teachers are given their opportunity to vote.
There must be records at the post offices to track the movement of the ballots. This is not dolly house. We are paying him over two million dollars (2,000,000.00) to run the election process, he needs to get it right. This is the worse election ever held in GTU.
If an investigation is done and it is revealed that the ballots were delivered to the schools, then the Head teachers of such schools should be held accountable for not giving teachers their ballots. In some schools, it was alleged that Headteachers kept the ballots and did not give them to their teachers. It was alleged that some executive officers who are candidates were seen with empty return envelopes. If this is really so, where did they get them from?
I call on the central executive officers as well as the other candidates to challenge the Elections Officer and to speak out against what is happening. Disregard his threat, it is empty, you have waited too long to speak out, once you speak the truth. If you don’t, then the teachers will speak out against you.
I take the opportunity to encourage all the teachers who would have voted and not yet posted their ballots to post their ballots. Let the change begin with you.
Non-financial member by default