The newly-elected head of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union, Wendy Bynoe, says that her executive will engage in a listening tour when it takes up office on April 5.
Bynoe defeated retired educator and incumbent first vice-president, Vibert Lampkin, in elections conducted Monday and Tuesday, to replace Oswald Robinson, who was head of the union for the past six years.
She is the public relations officer on the outgoing executive
The other members of the executive include 1st Vice president, Kent Cain, who was elected unopposed and Andrew John, who defeated Clarence Cooke to become 2nd Vice president.
Sheri Edwards defeated Robinson to become the union’s general secretary.
However, Robinson will retain a spot on the executive –as immediate past president.
Sharon Doyle was voted in, ahead of Nichiesha Williams as assistant general secretary, and Jonathan Roberts outdid Sheddie Conliffe to become the union’s new spokesperson.
James “Jimmy” Wilson was elected, unopposed, as treasurer.
As the committee members, union members chose Ketty Kydd-Rhynd and Edmira Walker, ahead of Anthony Compton, Nolan Allen, Anthony Steward, Edmira Walker and Vanrick D. Williams.
Bynoe told iWitness News on Thursday that the new executive intends to start their term with “a listening tour”.
“Ask members what’s wrong; how can we fix it. We will endeavour to make quality teaching and quality schools a top priority for the union. I think those ideas will form the core of our programming for the next biennium,” said the new union president, who had campaigned on the slogan “Up We Go With Bynoe”.
“My team will also identify and define our key stakeholders, that is, members of the profession; clients (students and parents); the wider community; and authorities.
“The task of our union is to bring them all together to positively transform the provision of education. We will continue to build on a century plus of achievement even as we seek to innovate and transform in a collaborative approach,” she told iWitness News as she congratulated the other members of her team.
“I extend heartfelt thanks to all those who placed their confidence in me and the other executive members and I invite everyone’s support going forward even as I pledge to faithfully and consistently represent the union and its members.”
Bynoe used the opportunity to remind the public of some of the core issues that were identified through consultation with the members and to which the union dedicates its attention.
She said that under her leadership, the union will continue to fight tirelessly “for justice, and better terms and conditions of service for all members (Advocate for all teachers to be appointed to their correct grades – Teachers 1, 2, 4, 5, and above. Articulate for fairness and merit in promotion)”
She said the union will continue to defend members’ rights to gratuities and pensions and will place renewed emphasis on teacher welfare, safety, security and material benefits.
Her team will also propose a national parent-teacher body that is affiliated with the union and will negotiate and defend the teachers’ collective agreement.
Among other things, Bynoe said that over the next two years, the union will endeavour to provide accountability and greater accessibility to all members and engender greater pride, passion and purpose among members.
She told iWitness News that her team will continue, and will intensify “the never-ending quest for improved working conditions through strategic advocacy”.