Junior Minister of Social Protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott has issued an apology to the teachers of Guyana after initially describing them as “uncaring” and “selfish” for taking industrial action as they seek to improve their living conditions via an increase in their salaries.
“I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to the teachers of Guyana. I regret making such an inflammatory and hurtful statement. I have always and will always hold the teachers of our nation in the highest regard” Scott was quoted as saying in a statement released from the Ministry of Presidency.
In offering his ‘humble and sincere’ apology, Scott also said that it “was never my intention to be disrespectful of, or to downplay the legitimate industrial actions taken by the Guyana Teacher’s Union on behalf of its membership and teachers generally.”
The teachers who took umbrage to the remarks made by Scott called publicly on Monday for him to apologise.
The remarks also triggered a response from an infuriated Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), which also demanded an apology for his choice of words.
The Union also highlighted that his statement confirmed their conviction that the Labour Department’s position on teachers’ salary increases is biased.
Calls for an apology on the part of the Minister were also echoed from the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC).
“This most astonishing statement by the Minister, who incidentally is responsible for the Department of Labour, is a clear demonstration of the Administration’s concern for the workers plight and troubles that have beset them in the era of the ‘Good Life’ coalition. The statement by the Minister, in our view, further unmasks the APNU/AFC Government and it reveals its true colours,” FITUG stated on Monday.
An appeal was also made for the President David Granger to give ‘serious consideration and profound thought’ as to whether Scott is suited to serve as the political head of the Labour Department.
Meanwhile, the GTUC said this is not the first time such utterances were made by the Minister and further sought to ask the perceptible question as to whether this is also a representation of the Government’s position on the matter.
Educators from all corners of the country are currently protesting for ‘a liveable wage’ and they were seen protesting in front of schools, ministries and education departments on the first day of the academic year.