Industrial Relations officer (IRO) of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Justin De Freitas is contending that proper procedure was not followed in the removal of Sookoo Sonnylal, as principal of the beleaguered Siparia West Secondary.
De Freitas said the union was at a loss to understand what act of indiscipline Sonnylal committed to have him removed from his place of work and a school supervisor put in charge.
De Freitas said according the Teaching Service Commission regulations, if an accusation was made against a person, the Ministry of Education had to inform the person of the accusation, in writing, and give further instructions for the individual to cease reporting at his/her place of work pending the outcome of an investigation. “As far as I am aware, that has not happened in the case of Mr Sonnylal. Based on the information received, Mr Sonnylal got a (verbal) instruction from the SS111 to cease reporting to his place of work and report to her office every day.”
De Freitas said, in the circumstances, if the proper procedure was not followed then Sonnylal should not be reporting to the St Patrick District Education office, in San Fernando. “He should not be reporting there and made to sit in a corner like a little bad boy. You either accuse the man of something or let him go back to his school and do his job.”
De Freitas who will be representing Sonnylal, said a meeting has been arranged for next Monday.
Sonnylal’s removal from the school compound, revolves around an online video which shows him engaged in a confrontation with a group of students from the school, in which some disparaging comments were made.
An earlier online video, in which a student was seen in an act of extortion and physical abuse on another student, has resulted in the suspension of four students and a criminal investigation by the police. Siparia police confirmed yesterday that no charges had been laid against the students.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia asserted that Sonnylal had not been suspended and said that function resided with the TSC. He said there were certain breaches of discipline and the ministry had asked him to remove himself while an investigation was done by the school supervision unit.