Dear Editor,I sincerely hope that the current impasse in relation to the contract for teachers could be resolved without a prolonged saga; our teachers deserve better. Having said that, I cannot help but feel that the Guyana Teachers Union must also take some responsibility for the current sad situation our teachers find themselves in. This position was arrived at as a result of the following three points:1. The initial offer proposed could at best be regarded as reckless and would have contributed to the perception that the Union is not taking this process seriously. It is one thing to devise a wish list for consideration under ideal circumstances and entirely another to establish a basis for serious engagement in the best interest of those you represent.The proposal from the Union was clearly the former and would have undermined their ability to sit at the table and engage in worthwhile negotiations without seeming to lose significantly – let us be real, a 40 per cent increase for over 9000 teachers retroactive to 2015 in this economic climate is a tall ask. Add that to the request for debunching, which any government would balk at given the enormity of the payout, you leave yourself in the untenable situation we currently face.More importantly, the Union seems to lack the capacity to devise alternative practical arrangements that would see the disbursement of those funds over a protracted period in forms that would see teachers potentially benefiting without an actual cash payout – it appears that they are hoping that the Government would devise same and they will wait forever for that.2. The Guyana Teachers Union, whether they would accept it or not, appeared to be playing politics all along rather than strictly sticking to the business of teachers’ welfare.Unfortunately, like other unions in Guyana, the GTU showed its hand early in 2015 when the pre-existing contract expired under the previous Government and just prior to the general elections they decided to ‘work to rule’ as a form of protest for not arriving at a speedy contract renewal engagement. Three years hence, they have not yet treated the business of teachers’ livelihoods with equal urgency and allowed themselves to be exposed in numerous charades and exercises in futility.The fact that it was Minister Ally who was sent to the meeting with the GTU, instead of someone with more authority to fully address the issues at hand, speaks volumes in relation to how the Union is regarded by the Government. One could only assume that she was sent there to appeal to their political sensibilities.As such, the opportunity for objective and balanced engagement has long been squandered and teachers are now in a rather tenuous situation. Few would be surprised if in a few days a different pronouncement is heard from the Union regarding some compromise that leaves teachers in no better position than they currently are – that has been the pattern, talk big then back down.3. The GTU has failed to establish themselves as a formidable force that would give them the clout to truly orchestrate the coup they are attempting. Their laughable mini protests to date, with the same faces I might add, are a reflection of the fact that they are out of step with the masses they represent. Teachers are not engaged in the type of professional experiences that would move them to develop the collective consciousness that the Union is now desperately relying on. The occasional meeting and some cases of advocacy on the part of teachers within the system is a far cry from the role this Union should play in the lives of the almost 10,000 teachers they represent.The Union needs to demonstrate that they are contributing to the professional development of teachers on a consistent basis. Teachers need to see tangible evidence that they are part of a professional association that contributes to their professional and personal advancement.On this count, the Union has failed miserably. Unfortunately, our teachers are now asked to awaken some dormant affiliation to a cause that they have no faith has been handled in the best manner.The almost three-year delay in promotions a few years ago did nothing to help thousands of teachers who saw their professional advancement delayed for an issue few still understand –who really won? In the midst of this crisis, this might be bitter medicine for the Union to stomach, but it should at the least awaken a desire to do better in the future, because simply put, our teachers truly deserve better.Sincerely,Vivian D Brotherson
Liverpool had a tricky-looking match on paper at Stamford Bridge but emerged unscathed, winning 2-1 to maintain their five-point gap at the top.But defeats for United and Tottenham, and a tough battle for Arsenal, who recovered to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa 3-2, showed the “Big Six” are not going to have things all their own way this season.Here, AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:Imperious City show hungerWere Manchester City losing their hunger after consecutive Premier League title triumphs?Bernardo Silva (left) scored a hat-trick as Manchester City beat Watford 8-0 © AFP / Oli SCARFFPep Guardiola did not appear especially worried after his side’s 3-2 defeat against Norwich last weekend, saying he still loved his team.They responded to his affection in emphatic fashion, pummelling Watford just four months after smashing them 6-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.Bernardo Silva, who scored a hat-trick against Watford, said City had wanted to put on a show for their fans.“After the defeat at Norwich obviously we wanted to get the three points and give our fans a good performance,” Silva told Sky Sports.“We were unbelievable in the first 30 minutes, scored lots of goals and had control.”European champions Liverpool are setting a frightening standard as they go in search of their first top-flight English title since 1990 but City are not going to go away.New faces in top sixLeicester and West Ham proved their credentials in their bid to break the iron grip of the Premier League’s top six with victories over Tottenham and Manchester United.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United lost 2-0 to West Ham © AFP / Ian KINGTONBrendan Rodgers’s Leicester have now faced Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs in their opening six games and have more than held their own.Also, the stuttering form of the established powers behind Liverpool and Manchester City means there is little to fear for sides unused to the rarefied atmosphere at the top of the Premier League.United have now won just one of their past five league games, Tottenham have not won away in the Premier League since January and Chelsea are yet to taste victory at home under Frank Lampard.Leicester and West Ham hold a three-point lead over all three and are level with Arsenal, who battled to their first win in four league games at home to Aston Villa.Liverpool back up Alexander-Arnold’s trophy boastBacking his brash words with bold actions, Trent Alexander-Arnold emphasised why Liverpool are such a serious threat to Manchester City’s hopes of a third successive title.Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold © AFP / Ben STANSALLAlexander-Arnold previewed Liverpool’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday by declaring that Jurgen Klopp’s side are determined to become serial trophy winners.Not content with last season’s Champions League triumph, Alexander-Arnold said: “We don’t want to be remembered as that Liverpool team that only won the Champions League. We want to be the team that people can’t remember how many trophies we have won because we won so many.”That kind of talk can put pressure on a team if they are not made of the right stuff, but Alexander-Arnold walked the walk as his blistering first-half free-kick at Stamford Bridge put Liverpool on course for a sixth successive win that moved them five points clear of City at the top.0Shares0000(Visited 23 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League © AFP / Ben STANSALLLONDON, United Kingdom, Sep 22 – Liverpool beat Chelsea to preserve their perfect record and Manchester City romped to a record-breaking win but elsewhere it was far from business as usual during a dramatic Premier League weekend.City were imperious against Watford, 5-0 up within the first 18 minutes and just one goal shy of matching Manchester United’s Premier League record for the biggest margin of victory — 9-0 against Ipswich in 1995.