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Minister of Education explains Alifa Elrington’s reappointment to school board

The teachers, through the BNTU, sent a letter to the Ministry of Education noting their concerns regarding the proposed appointment of Elrington as a board member. Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, says that the letter accuses him of political interference, something he flatly rejected. Faber explained that the reason Elrington was chosen to be reappointed to the board was for her to continue to work on a case involving Dr. Lorna Mckay, the principal of the school who is on administrative leave.

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister: “I read in the teacher’s letter that there is some accusation of politics being played. Well let me be clear that I have been the representative for the Collet area for 15 years, I have been the Minister of Education that manages the Ministry of Education which is proprietor the owner of Gwen Lizarraga high school, and if anybody is going to play politics or they are going to accuse anybody of playing politics that has to be geared towards me. I make that point because I have never in my 15 years interfered in the everyday runnings of Gwen Liz nor have I as Minister of Education gone in there to big stick anything. But I will make it clear again that that school is owned by the Ministry of Education. Ms.Alifa was presiding as chair, not the chair the chair isn’t put there by the Ministry, the chair is elected from among the members of the board who are selected according to the education rules. Ms.Alifa became the chair and was presiding over the matter concerning Dr.MKay. Where the matter came in if there was any politics being played is that upon the municipal elections being concluded there was seemingly a kind of quick push on the part of the opposition to quickly name a new representative and to get Ms.Alifa kicked out. That I will tell you posed a problem for the school because we are in the middle of trying to resolve the matter with principal McKay and that is why for us as the proprietor of the school, the board is the managing authority but we have representation on the board to try to keep Ms.Alifa there until the matter is resolved. The community rep of the board is selected by the Principal and after consultation but it comes from the community there which is the Collet community. My office has been the entity the Collet Education and Resource Center has been the entity that has consulted or the principal has consulted in order to name a representative. I see that in the teacher’s letter they write about Ms.Alifa not living in the area, well you can select anybody to be your representative, the community’s representative does not have to reside in the area but has to look out for the interest of those who are from the area. And so in order to allow for the work to go on unimpeded and in fact to have us resolve the matter of the principal in an expeditious way because the school is in limbo when you can’t move head or tail because you are in this situation that you all know has been going on for a while now this is why as the community representative or as the person responsible for the community consultation with the principal we ask that Ms.Alifa be allowed to represent the country maybe to finish the work. And this is what I will say to the teachers when I get there in a little while, there is no attempt on our part and I’m speaking from the Ministry or even from the Area Reps position now there is no attempt on our part.”

Faber met with the teachers this evening.