Education Minister Briefs Teachers Union On NIOSH Meeting Jermine Abel
The St. Kitts Teachers Union has met with the Minister of Education, Hon. Shawn Richards to discuss what transpired during a recent meeting between three government Ministers and a team from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Last week SKTU President Bishop Ron Collins told the Observer that the Union had not been made aware of a meeting between the visiting NIOSH research team and government, referenced by the Education Minister on May 27th. The NIOSH reps had been in St. Kitts to carry out an investigation into the cause of illnesses affecting staff and students at the BHS. Richards explained to The Observer that he had used the wrong term during the press conference when he spoke of the NIOSH meeting, but has since clarified the situation with the SKTU. “We held a meeting last week and that particular matter was raised, and we were able to come to an understanding as to what specifically transpired. What I can say to you is that the word debriefing probably should not have been used when it was at the press conference.” Minister Richards told this media house that on 14th May after parliament, he had a scheduled walk-through of the Basseterre High School campus along with the Minister of Health and the Attorney General and the team from NIOSH. The NIOSH reps gave them a general idea as to what it is they do and what they have been engaged in, he explained. “As part of that walk-through the consultants had a meeting with us and explained to us the types of tests that they were undertaking at the Basseterre High School. They also indicated to us some of the different types of equipment that they were using, how they got about doing their research,” he said, adding that the research team explained how they had undertaken similar tests at institutions in the US. Richards said there had been no intentional exclusion of the important stakeholder group and now everyone was on the same page. “We were able to clear up that with the Teachers Union, so they are fully aware of what happened during that particular meeting.”