King: Minister Browne should apologise to teachers union

Minister of Education Michael Browne

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Another individual has taken Minister of Education Michael Browne to task over recent statements he made in the ongoing impasse with the Antigua & Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT).

Retired educator Anthonyson King said the minister’s suggestion that teachers are seeking to enrich themselves by being on the boards of statutory corporations was insulting.

King, who described himself as a founding member of the A&BUT, said the minister should issue an apology to the teachers’ bargaining agent.

“To suggest that they are going to put people on the board to enrich themselves is very unfortunate, and I think the minister needs to apologise to the union,” he said.

“Being on the Board of Education is like a sacrifice; you do get a stipend, but it is a labour of love, not anybody trying to enrich themselves.”

His comments came after the Antigua & Barbuda Trade Union Congress (TUC) joined in solidarity with its affiliate, A&BUT, and recommended that the union and Minister Browne should meet to resolve the impasse in the shortest possible time.

Browne and the A&BUT are unable to agree on the union’s nomination of a representative to sit on the Board or Education (BoE), although the body has been installed about six months prior.

Minister Browne has contended that he is not opposed to the union making a nomination, but that he will not accept the individual who previously sat on the board.

Because of Browne’s enrichment comments the union immediately recalled its members who sat on the National Scholarship Committee, National Technical and Vocational Council and the Education Advisory Commission.

King’s advice to the minister is “to sit down with the union and try to work together to promote education and to come down off his high horse.”