(May 30, 2023) – Yesterday, the Guyana Teachers’ Union pursuant to a continuous engagement between the Government of Guyana and the Union, was invited to a follow-up meeting with the Office of the President scheduled for 09:00h today.

The union accepted the invitation. The last such meeting was held last week on the 22nd of May 2023.

Later in the afternoon, the GTU asked if the meeting could be postponed to 15:00h as 09:00h “is too early for the union.” The Government, ever interested in continuing the engagement agreed.

Opportunistically and disingenuously the GTU mounted protest action at 10:00h this morning about matters that are currently under examination at the aforesaid engagement meetings. The Union is aware that only this week two of the matters raised (Clothing allowance and Whitley Council entitlements) in the previous engagements were resolved and only yesterday they were copied on correspondence to that effect.

From all accounts, this morning’s protest action is grandstanding to give Coretta McDonald and her crew over at the APNU/AFC content for their talk shows. All of the matters protested about are matters inherited from the APNU/AFC. All of them are being addressed by this Government in the best way possible and the Union is aware of this. We remind all that it is the PPP/C government under the Bharrat Jagdeo presidency that engaged the union continuously resulting in the first and other multi-year agreements being signed by successive PPP/C Administrations.

Currently, under discussion between the union and the government is another multi-year agreement, the last one having expired under APNU and its provisions which include inter alia duty-free concessions for teachers, scholarships for post-graduate programs, the housing revolving fund, salary increases, better remote area incentives for teachers in the hinterland, more clerical support at schools, resolution of the 2016 fiasco where salary scales for new teachers were changed, increments for additional qualification and less academic workload on Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers, etc. Many of these initiatives were proposed by Government because the Government has every interest in making sure teachers are comfortable.

There was therefore absolutely no reason for this morning’s protest except to grandstand and claim credit amongst teachers for matters that are well on their way to being realized. The GTU must consider whether it wishes to continuously be used by a failing opposition member Coretta Mc Donald or if it wants to work to bring benefits to teachers.

Teachers are assured that while the government prefers to work with the Union, if that becomes impossible the interest of teachers will still be paramount and prioritized in the government’s considerations and that will ensure benefits for each and every teacher.