The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
The voices from below cry deception, scheme, unscrupulous, and I conclude “EXPLOITATION”. Several weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “telecommunications robbers or providers?” and described a “rip off” as a bad financial transaction. Usually it refers to an incident in which a person is overcharged for something, or receives goods or services not of the standard expected for the price. A rip-off is usually distinguished from a scam in that a scam involves wrongdoing such as fraud; a rip-off may be considered excessive, but not illegal.
Today the issue at hand is the smart phone that Dr. Ralph Gonsalves promised to give each teacher on completing a training course that was intended to enhance teachers ICT skills. Our Prime Minister says he’s a man of his word and often warns us not to take him for a joke. But teachers were never told that these smartphones have conditions attached to them. In my opinion, these phones are not given freely. Condition #1: the phones have to be on a post paid plan. Dear Mr. Prime Minister, teachers did not ask for another bill at the end of each month. We barely make enough to pay our existing utility bills, not to mention our electricity bill.
Condition #2: two post-paid plans are offered by Digicel, which they claimed are specially tailored for the teaching community. However, how could you give us a plan without our input? Wouldn’t this be considered as a bad financial transaction if I accept? A “rip-off”! How could someone give you a shirt then turn around and tell you it is mandatory that you wear it on Sundays only? That’s the PM telling us that we will be getting a phone and Digicel telling us that we have to take a post-paid plan. Preposterous! The PM wants Vincentians to be more articulate, to be critical, and to develop citizenship education. This article is a product of the education revolution, and I speak for my fellow teachers and countrymen.
Condition #3: If the teacher does not take the post-paid plan offered by Digicel, the teacher does not get a smartphone. Mr. Prime Minister, didn’t you say every teacher will be given a phone on completion of the training course? As a man of principle, I refuse to make promises I can’t keep but in politics, “promises are for tricks”. We (teachers) would have turned up for the workshop without a “smartphone promise”. We embraced the workshop and looked forward to implementing technology in the classrooms.
At the end, we all have the choice not to accept the dirty contracts we have been offered. I refused to accept the contract and was told by the Digicel representative that I will not be given a smartphone that was promised to teachers by the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In a democracy, citizens have the right to choose. However, Digicel tells me I cannot choose between a post-paid and pre-paid plan. Teachers need to be one voice and let Digicel know we want to choose between a post-paid and pre-paid plan.
THE POWER OF TEACHERS SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED.
Vanrick D. Williams
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].