A Betrayal of Trust

THE recent revelations surrounding the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) have shed light on a disturbing reality: the gross mismanagement of funds and the abandonment of accountability.

The staggering sum of approximately $2 billion, collected from hardworking teachers over the years, remains unaccounted for as the union’s books have not undergone auditing by the Auditor General’s office for the past 35 years.

Let’s pause and digest the gravity of this situation. For over three decades, teachers have entrusted their hard-earned money to an organisation meant to advocate for their rights and well-being. Yet, the GTU has failed them miserably. The lack of financial transparency not only undermines the trust between the union and its members, but it also raises serious questions about where these funds have disappeared to and how they have been utilised.

The recent statements from both the Auditor General’s office and the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority serve as damning indictments of the GTU’s negligence.

With no audited financial statements submitted since 1989 and the last filed financial returns dating back 20 years, the union has blatantly disregarded its legal obligations. According to the Trade Unions Act, failure to comply with such requirements carries penalties, yet the GTU has seemingly operated with impunity.

Compounding this financial debacle is the government’s decision to cease automatic deductions of union dues from teachers’ salaries, citing the GTU’s lack of accountability.

This move underscores the urgent need for transparency and responsible stewardship of members’ contributions. After all, teachers deserve to know where their hard-earned money is going and how it is being utilised on their behalf.

Against this backdrop of financial discrepancies, the GTU’s decision to orchestrate a countrywide strike action further exacerbates the betrayal of trust. Despite ongoing negotiations with the Ministry of Education regarding salary increases and other benefits, the union has chosen to resort to illegal strike action, disregarding the fact that talks have not broken down.

More than half of the union’s requests have already been satisfied, yet it insists on disrupting the education system and jeopardising the well-being of students and teachers alike.

The GTU’s behaviour is not only unethical but also reprehensible. It has failed in its duty to represent and safeguard the interests of its members, instead, choosing to prioritise its own self-interests at the expense of the teaching profession.

Educators cannot condone such blatant disregard for accountability and legality. It is time for the GTU to be held to account for its actions and for teachers to demand the transparency and integrity they rightfully deserve. The future of education in Guyana depends on it.



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