“You have nothing to lose,” PM tells teachers as reapplication deadline extended

By Admin. Updated 5:55 a.m., Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Some 55 teachers have so far reapplied for their jobs, and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has told the others that they “have nothing to lose” by reapplying for their jobs.

Dr. Gonsalves said at a press conference on August 16, he asked for the deadline to be pushed back to Monday, August 22, as he suspects that more teachers may wish to apply for resumption of work.

The move comes as the Ministry of Education was to submit to the Public Service Commissions, on August 17, the names of teachers who met the August 15 deadline to reapply for their jobs.

The teachers had become disengaged after failing to take a COVID-19 vaccine, as required by the Government in November 2021, after it passed the Statutory Rules and Orders Number 28 of 2021.

The Government maintains that the teachers abandoned their jobs, but the SVG Teachers’ Union maintains that the teachers were unlawfully dismissed by the government. The matter is before the court.

At the Tuesday, August 16 press conference, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said some of the teachers who reapplied for their jobs “have taken the vaccine,” and “others who are not vaccinated have applied for employment”.

Dr. Gonsalves said those who are party to the case that the SVG Teachers’ Union has before the courts can still reapply without affecting the case.

“Let me say this, if you are a party to the case or you want to wait until, or the case where the teachers, public servants, other frontline workers [are] challenging the constitutionality of the government’s requirement and which they didn’t follow, and a result they abandoned their jobs, put yourself in a possible win-win situation. Apply for your job; it’s not a trick,” Dr. Gonsalves said.

“You can still pursue your case, but apply for your job,” he added.

“Anybody who gives you any advice and tells you that if you apply back for your job, is some trick or it weakening your case which you have, tell them that Ralph say that is political advice, that ain’t legal advice,” the prime minister added.

He urged the teachers to listen to him on the issue and not to let any vanities get involved.

He said he does not know whether the matter is going to end in November, whether it will end up in the Court of Appeal, or the Privy Council.

“All I know is that we were properly advised legally, and we are satisfied that the position of the government is correct,” he said.

“Now, it is open to you to say no, you think your position is correct and the government is wrong. So be it, but all I am saying to you: you have nothing to lose by applying for your job,” he added.

The SVG Teachers’ Union is encouraging its members to hold out as it is pushing for “reinstatement” of all teachers with damages paid to them for the period in which they became disengaged due to the government’s vaccine requirement.

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