Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said teacher turnout at Tobago’s schools last Friday was “encouraging” and commended principals and teachers for their dedication and commitment in the face of calls by the trade union leaders for a day of ‘rest and reflection.’
Charles also said he was heartened by the turnout of employees at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), stating “there was no significant absenteeism reported throughout the Assembly Divisions.”
He said Friday’s attendance by public sector workers was “a positive indication of a mature population, committed to the development of the island.”
Charles, who is also Secretary for Education and a former teacher, also said positive attendance figures show that teachers in Tobago understand their responsibilities to the island’s children.
“The information received from schools indicated that 32 out of 40 primary schools and six out of nine secondary schools had teacher enrolments of over 50 percent,” he said, listing an overall 80 per cent turnout for on Friday.
”This is a very good sign for education in Tobago as we are not only making sure that our students are safe and in an environment that is conducive to quality education but also that we are setting the right examples for future leaders to follow,” he said.
But even as Charles reported a high turnout of teachers, Orlando Kerr, Tobago Officer of the TT Unified Teachers Association, reported 50 per cent of teachers supported the union’s call for Friday’ to be a day of “rest and reflection.”
Kerr told Newsday Tobago on Friday that “some schools reported a large number of teachers absent while others reported a large number of teachers at work.
“Some of the schools with low attendance were around the Scarborough area like the St Andrews. Also, schools such as Speyside AC, Roxborough Secondary and Black Rock Anglican were closed totally. We had 30 per cent at other schools. So the general turnout was 50 percent throughout Tobago,” he said.
And while Horace Amede, President of the Truckers and Traders Association has called on the membership to join in solidarity with their counterparts in Trinidad for a day of rest, Lyle Alexander, Chairman of the Port Authority of TT (PATT) told Newsday Tobago that all operations at the Scarborough port and the Port-of-Spain ferry terminal went on as usual. Alexander said workers were present for work, there were no disruptions and all sailings on both TT Spirit and Cabo Star cargo vessels ran smoothly with truckers present to load and offload their cargo.