BHS Teacher Reinstated Jermine Abel
A teacher at the Basseterre High School who was fired under the former administration, has been re-instated by the Unity government. Minister of Education, the Hon. Shawn Richards indicated that the Team Unity Government has stuck to its promise of having fired teacher Nathalie Johnson reinstated. Her reappointment came at the start of the current academic term, which began in April, according to Minister Richards. Speaking with the Observer, the Education Minister stated that the current administration had made a promise during the elections campaign to have her reinstated and they undertook such a move. “Nathalie Johnson has been re-employed. She is back at the Basseterre High School, but there are some minor issues surrounding her re-employment.” He did not disclose what those issues were, but stressed that they are currently being addressed. “I think though that the most important thing is that we had given a commitment to ensuring that she is back in the classroom,” he explained. Johnson and a number of her colleagues took to the streets outside the school to protest against the conditions of the learning institution, after it was alleged that she and several students became ill while at the campus. However, earlier this year, Minister Richards told the media that a new organization, the National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) would be undertaking test at the institution. They were recommended by the Pan American Health Organization. When contacted for a comment, Head of the St. Kitts Teachers Union, Bishop Ron Collins said that ‘the Union welcomes the reinstatement of Ms. Nathalie Johnson” at the Basseterre High School. “We had engaged the former administration, the labour department and the political parties,” Collins told the Observer on Monday 1st June. Collins informed that the Union was considering legal proceedings over the termination of Johnson’s service, since the body thought that her dismissal was related to ‘the BHS situation”. In January of 2015, Johnson’s service was terminated in what many claimed were “bizarre circumstances”. But the SKTU President explained that the education ministry had stated that there was a problem with Ms. Johnson’s employment letter. “They said that there was an error with her appointment. They said that it was a temporary appointment and not a permanent one… and it expired as of December 2014.” He however, informed that she was reemployed on a permanent basis.