“Put your house in order,” ABUT tells Daryl Matthew

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers Sharon Kelsick did not hold back when she addressed a press conference today, telling Education Minister Daryl Matthew that he should put his house in order

Kelsick said the education minister is seemingly blaming the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers for the state of affairs in education

Teachers are protesting for the second week, withholding their services in demonstration of their dissatisfaction with the government on several issues including security and better working conditions.

“Mr. Minister, I urge you to get your house in order and to refrain from passing the blame onto the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers for the failures of your ministry. The issues plaguing us are the result of the incompetence that has become the flagship of your ministry. I found your statements disrespectful and in poor taste,” she said

Kelsick said the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers has been nothing but accommodating with the education minister and with the ministry.

“How often had we had to provide information to your ministry when it was not our responsibility to do so? Just yesterday, I spent my day working to ensure the names of my teachers who have not yet been paid would be submitted so that they could receive their monies and we could return them to our students. How is it that your ministry within your department, within your ministry, cannot provide such a list?” she said

Adding, “And then we are blamed for this incompetence. Yet you go to the public and you make proclamations that paint the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers executive as unreasonable political prostitutes trying to take down your government. Sir, I beg you, please get your house in order”

She said the Union will no longer sit idly by while the education minister allows the “incompetence permeating your ministry to destroy our education system, just as our teachers will be held accountable when they fail to fulfill their duties. We will hold you accountable when you fail to meet your responsibilities to the teachers of this nation and to your friends who lack the intellectual capacity to look past their political rhetoric” she added

She said the ABUT will not relent until their demands are met.

Meanwhile, classes were disrupted on Monday as teachers withheld their services.

Scores of students were seen in St Johns, heading home as early as 9:30 am.

Kelsick said that parents are concerned about their children’s education and rightfully so but they may not be fully informed about the teacher’s plight.

“I want to speak to parents concerned for their children who may not understand why we have taken such drastic measures. Teaching is not for the faint of heart. It is a work of love that requires you to give substantially more than you get. Our days are long and our responsibilities are endless. We are not just teachers, but counselors, nurses, career advisers, secret keepers, cheerleaders, adopted moms and dads, aunts, uncles, and so much more,” she said

She said teachers have been working under challenging circumstances and continuously give their best because of their love for children but “when it becomes challenging to ask teachers to continuously work in conditions that are below par while not remunerating them properly”

This situation becomes even more frustrating according to Kelsick when one considers the financial costs associated with the job.

“Many of the resources used in our classrooms we’re talking about manipulatives. The technological resources such as speakers, and tokens for rewards for students. They are purchased using funds from an already meager salary. We are tired of hearing about next month. We are tired of hearing. There is nothing we can do”.

Kelsick said teachers are tired of working in a system that requires them to work for five, six, seven, and sometimes ten years before being paid according to their qualifications.

“We are tired of working in a system where failure to plan effectively for the education of our children is the norm. We are simply tired” she said

The Union President Casroy Charles was also present at this morning’s press conference and he made it clear that the move was is political.

​“To those of you who voice your concern about our nation’s children’s education. The Union applauds you. Well done. Keep it up… “

“I want us to be mindful that when a minister of education turns against a body whose effort has caused the ministry to boast that public schools breaking from last academic year, 2021 to 2022 have receded from at least two workings per school to less than one breaking per school for two terms.

He said the Minister of Education should be applauding the teacher’s union for being adamant that they place security in all schools so that the Union does not become prey to vandals and bandits who just take advantage of the educational institutions.

“Also, for those of you who might have forgotten, the labor movement is the movement responsible for making persons from low socioeconomic backgrounds be allowed to be elected into Parliament. It’s the labour union that caused employers to give workers paid leave retirement benefits. Not no government.

Meanwhile, Matthew said the government continues to do all it can, telling Parliament Monday that the upgrade of teachers is being addressed with all identified have received their instruments. 340 were eligible for these upgrades.

“The information has been sent to the treasury for the increase to be added to their salary reflecting their new position,” he said.

Mathew said the union claimed that 30 teachers have not received that increase but that is very surprising since no information has been forthcoming from teachers or the ABUT.

The issue of ex gratia payments was also addressed and all payments were settled last week Friday.

Where the issue of lighting is concerned, Mathew said all of the schools identified by the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers for adequate lighting to be installed overnight have been done.

“For the schools that were identified as necessary for security cameras to be installed, CCTV cameras to be installed, seven of the schools have been completed and the others are ongoing. And there was a very technical issue that led to that delay. The cameras had to be hardwired into the school infrastructure. It is labor-intensive and time-consuming, and it is work that simply cannot be done during school operation hours. And so that was an initiative that could not have been completed in its entirety at the time” he said.

The issue of fencing he said will also be addressed.



  1. I think for myself

    I stand in solidarity with our teachers.

  2. Teacher for life

    Stand strong my fellow educators.

  3. The Adviser

    Kaiso – “if the top slack, the bottom half drop out”


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