High Court: CEO forced to withdraw ‘poorly’ worded memo over teachers’ salaries 


Chief Education Officer (CEO), Saddam Hussain has been forced to withdraw what he said was a “poorly” worded memo regarding the salaries of striking teachers and told the High Court he has no intention of cutting salaries until the High Court matter is completed and the judge rules.

Hussain risked being charged with contempt of court, but he said he had no intention of disrespecting the court.

When Justice Sanil Kissoon ruled that no action should be taken regarding teachers’ salaries until he hears and rules on the matter, Hussain issued a memo to the Regional Educational Officers of the country’s 11 education districts directing that they continue to make a note of all teachers who don’t show up to work.

But then, the wording of the memo is what got him in trouble.

This is the particular wording: “The Government of Guyana will not pay teachers for the days that they did not work. We are advised that a final order from the court is expected to be made accordingly and consequently the information collected above will be utilised to determine teachers’ salaries.”

The weight of what Hussain was trying to say is that “consequent” to, or after, the final order of the judge, the information collected would be used to “determine” teacher’s salaries. So, if the judge rules that teachers’ pay should be cut, then he would have a record of all those who were absent.

In his response to the court, Hussain said it was “never his intention to disrespect the court.”

“The Ministry of Education has no intension of cutting anybody’s salary….until this is resolved,” he said.

He admitted that the last paragraph was “poorly” worded and agreed that the Attorney General should have been consulted before the circular was disseminated.

“I will take all the blame…It was not intentional,” Hussain said.

In conclusion, Hussain through the Attorney General, said the memorandum will be rescinded within an hour.

The Attorney General subsequently stated: “Mr Hussain accepted, I accepted, it (the memo) was not worded in the manner that it should and that we assured the judge that it is not intention of the Government of Guyana in this proceedings to disobey court orders or to compromise the administration of justice.

“That was not the intention of the circular. Whatever unhappy language was expressed, we, Hussain, apologised for that.”

Justice Kissoon granted two Conservatory Orders blocking the government from deducting monies from the salaries of striking teachers as well as union dues.

Teachers across the country have been participating in industrial action organised by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) since February 5 as they demand higher salary increases and duty-free concessions, among other entitlements.

The GTU believes talks have broken down and the process should move to arbitration but the Education and Labour Ministries maintain that talks are still ongoing.

The substantive hearing of the court matter is set for April 4.

Until then, Justice Kissoon suggested that both parties engage each other on the matter through a mediation process with Senior Counsel Edward Lukhoo as the mediator.

Both parties have been given 24 hours to make a decision with a meeting likely on Friday.

1 Comment
  1. habeeb says

    Schitz happens when everyone want to be someone who they are not.

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