The Ministry of Education says it is not averse to the work of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).
Instead, the ministry says it regards the body as a major stakeholder and will do everything possible to hold hands and work together.
This assurance from Minister of Education Anthony Garcia, as he addressed those present at TTUTA’s sod turning ceremony for the construction of its Teachers Training Centre at Carlsen Field, Chaguanas on Wednesday.
“We pledge to work hand in hand because we regard TTUTA as a vital stakeholder and we have said on many occasions that we cannot do it alone, if we want to succeed in ensuring that the Education System does what is expected to do, that is by providing quality education to the nation’s children. We simply cannot do it alone, we need the active support of our stakeholders.” Minister Garcia said.
Garcia advised that the Government has demonstrated its ability and commitment to work with TTUTA by way of several appointments.
“We have appointed three past officers of TTUTA on our Boards and our Boards are really arms of Government that assist in allowing us to carry out our mandate.
The Cabinet had no problem in accepting my recommendations and this is an indication of our desire and commitment to work with the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Union.”
Recounting his early years as a member of the Union and later its President, Minister Garcia said the establishment of a Teachers Centre was always uppermost on the minds of the founding fathers of TTUTA.
He noted that it was always their vision for the Union to be a professional organisation and have a strong trade union clout. Minister Garcia congratulated the present officers for making this dream a reality.
TTUTA President, Lynsley Doodhai presented a historical background to the project.
He said on December 1st, 1994 the then President of TTUTA Anthony Garcia wrote to the then Minister of Agriculture, Dr Keith Rowley requesting a donation of State lands to accommodate the Teachers’ Centre.
He also wrote the Director of Surveys on January 10th, 1995 identifying Carlsen Field as a suitable location for the Association to obtain a title to a parcel of land.
Dr Rowley responded to Garcia’s letter on October 4th, 1995 advising that Cabinet had agreed to the lease of a parcel of land to TTUTA.
The Director of Surveys wrote to Mr. Garcia December 7th, 1995 informing of the grant of a lease for 3.85 hectares of land for 30 years.