Says some teachers, education personnel don’t “deserve to be there”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd revealed yesterday that an audit of the Ministry of Education determined there were 900-plus contract workers in the ministry.
Approximately 300 contract workers failed to comply with the ministry’s verification process, according to Lloyd, who said when the salaries for those individuals was stopped, none of them showed up to object.
“I asked that there be a verification of every single contract worker in the Ministry of Education,” said Lloyd, a guest on ‘The Conversation’ radio talk show hosted by Shenique Miller.
“It was discovered that there were only 609 contract workers who verified; 300 or thereabouts who did not show up, verify or whatever — their salaries were immediately coded.
“Not one soul of those 300 showed up to say ‘where is my money’ because they had not been anywhere to work.”
He asserted that those listed as contract workers were either “working elsewhere, not coming to work, or slouching off”.
“This is what you are faced [with] Mr. and Mrs. Bahamian, in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and don’t tell me I should not be telling you about it because that is the reality,” Lloyd continued.
“We are doing something about it because I just finished dealing with those 300.
“Listen to the commentary in the marketplace, ‘what kind of man is this; how heartless he is; you’re taking bread out of people’s mouth’. What nonsense, absolute foolishness.
He added, “They are taking your money and stealing it and if you permit them, then I feel sorry for you, but you have asked me to be the guardian of your resources and I shall be.”
Last March, Lloyd revealed that his ministry was considering either disciplining or firing around 200 employees.
Dozens of employees were subsequently fired for non-performance.
In some cases, employees whose contracts had expired were not reengaged.
The opposition called the minister’s action a disgrace.
Yesterday, Lloyd asked whether he was heartless for guarding taxpayer’s money or [for guarding] “these people who taking and stealing money without coming to work for no reason and having other jobs at the same time”.
The ministry has committed to addressing contract workers by either making them permanent and pensionable or not renewing their contracts once expired.
Addressing teacher shortages in certain school across the nation, Lloyd said while he respects the hardworking, committed and dedicated teachers of the country who do “phenomenal work”, there are a number in the profession “who don’t deserve to be there”.
“They don’t deserve to be there, and they should find another career,” the minister said.
“Why is it being allowed? It is unfortunate. It is a matter that deserves our very aggressive and deliberate attention because it is a fact.
“The vast majority of our teaching professionals do outstanding work [and demonstrate] commitment.
“If you go to certain schools on a Saturday you would think you were at a full, regular school day because of the dedication and commitment of teachers doing extra classes — afternoon and so on, and doing tutorials — and taking work home.
“This is the kind of commitment we know teachers are supposed to have because of the teachers who we have had in our lives.
“At the same time, there are those who deserve to be sent packing and sent on their way because like John (a caller on the talk show) says there is a drag on the system.
“They need to be addressed.”