Torchbearers says Belinda Wilson is mysteriously strange

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Jamal Moss, President of the Torch Bearers Association

PRESS STATEMENT: The Torchbearers is baffled of the recent remarks made by Mrs. Belinda Wilson, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers.

She has put her foot in her mouth again and has now retaliated on the heels of the justifiable sentencing of Andre Birbal, who was found guilty of destroying the lives of some of his students.

What is Ms. Wilson angry about?  Is she saying to the Bahamian public that she objects to the sentencing?  Is she suggesting that Mr. Birbal should be set free to repeat his obscene acts on other innocent children?

She should be having a ‘hissy’ fit because Mr. Birbal used his authority to betray the trust of the children, the school and the country.

Ms. Wilson who is known to stray off course, seems to have launched out too far into the deep. Her statement now questions her ability to reason.  Is she suggesting now to punish the children for a “sick” teacher’s indiscretion?

Belinda Wilson - BUT President

Instead of warning teachers of inappropriate behavior and the consequences, she is telling teachers to keep the children 100 feet away from them.  This is simply ridiculous!  And the threat of no more after school classes and extracurricular activities is a clear indication that she does not have the best interest of the children of the Bahamas at heart.

Is she brazenly telling the authorities, that are designed to protect children, that they should not have sentenced Mr. Birbal for his indiscretion, and because they did, she is now pouting.

What message is Ms. Wilson saying to teachers who are also parents of children going to school; what are they to do if anything if it happens to their children? Nothing?  This is a sign that she could care less about how the public feels and how the teachers who are parents of children in the system feel. She is only interested in representing the membership of the union.  This is simply grandstanding, nothing more and nothing less.

What she should be doing is working toward a democracy in her union, where she suspended her own General Secretary because he dared to have integrity.  She should use her energies to remove  doubt of all questionable circumstances from her tenure.

This last attempt to appear to be acting in the teachers interests has fallen short, because no right thinking person, let alone a teacher’s union president, should behave in such a callous and wanton manner.  I cry shame on Ms. Wilson for preaching her message of “doom and gloom”, while abandoning the children and using the teachers as pawns.

I call on the other members of the union’s executive with any integrity, to distance themselves from Ms. Wilson’s remarks or be judged collectively by the very youth she is trying to disenfranchise.

The youth of this country who are in dire need of role models, can hardly find one.  She has consistently spoken out while disregarding the youth.  She has sacrificed the country’s precious youth on the altar of political greed. The only ones to suffer from her latest pronouncements will be the children, and  they are the ones who need help the most.  How cruel can she be?

Sensible and right thinking teachers will not follow a person who is advocating not to help the slow learner who is in dire need of after school classes or the child with social challenges of abuse.

We now know that the voice for them is not that of Ms. Wilson.

The Torchbearers cry shame on Belinda Wilson because we already knew and are finally convinced that all she is doing is using the BUT to secure a nomination in the upcoming election.  SHAME!

26 COMMENTS

  1. It is the role of the union to shape policy – to be more than a “labor” union. The role of the Teacher’s Union is to lead the way in improving the quality of education, in helping to raise the bar. In protecting its membership it must also place other critical areas in the balance which includes the welfare of the children. The conviction of a pedophile and the recent arrest of another alleged perpetrator shouldn’t drive the President into a defensive mode. No one is suggesting that all teachers or even many teachers are so perverse . In fact it seems that for the first time there is accountability in abuses that may have a very long history in the school system. One time ago, child-molesters were moved from place to place by the Ministry, continuing to leave children at risk. Who knows how many Bahamians have suffered in silence and shame the terrible fate that has come to light in Grand Bahama The President should take the lead: the country is watching and listening and her response was less than stellar.

  2. They need to do that not only to birbal but to all the police and every one else who goes before the court and found guilty of such things. It happens and is reported but nothing happens social services have proof of some of these cases but say their is nothning they can do.

  3. After reading the Torchbearer’s comments and comparing them with Mrs. Wilson’s comments, I have to query the quality of education received by the Torchbearer, as his response seems to [a] lack full understanding of Mrs. Wilson’s statement and [b] lack the ability to present a logical argument in response to those comments. I also noted a couple of ad hominem attacks along with a comment about the Union’s Sec-Gen which is not only irrelevant and a mere statement of opinion, but which is also counter-factual.

    I agree with Mrs. Wilson that teachers have a right to protect themselves and their reputations from specious accusations by malicious and / or fanciful students. I also agree that the Ministry of Education has a deep and oft-ignored responsibility to monitor teachers’ interaction with students and to ensure that this interaction remains as professional and appropriate as possible.

    However, I do believe that Bahamian parents are largely at fault for allowing abuses by teachers and others involved in the educational process to continue, simply because they abandon their children to the “good graces” of teachers and do not sufficiently monitor their children’s progress in school or the interaction teachers have with their children. How many Bahamian parents know the names of their children’s teachers? How many know the correct name of their homeroom grade, as in 7A or 8C or 9M? How many know whether the child is in grade 10 or 11 this year? A lot of things that sexual predators get away with happen because parents are not sufficiently alert, and because children, particularly those in the early teens, don’t feel confident in sharing their school-related concerns with their parents.

    I don’t think any one group bears the blame here. It is unfair to tar the hardworking, dedicated, sacrificial teachers who form the overwhelming majority of our teaching force with the brush of the wicked few. Uproot the wicked few? Oh, YES!!! However, it is PARENTS who must be the first line of defence. As long as Bahamian parents abdicate their responsibility as caretakers and guardians to teachers, such abuses will continue to be possible.

  4. I was disappointed in Mrs. Wilson’s comments. she should have used the opportunity in the aftermath of the Birbal affair to articulate a sensible policy on behalf of teachers who are equally concerned to protect the wellbeing of children in their care, instead she came off as petty and pedestrian. It is not too late. She still has th opportunity.

    • I am much more interested in hearing a policy of the type you described from the ministry. So far there has been a general warning to “frighten” teachers and get them into line.

      The reality is, teachers who give students rides home from track practice are at risk of being accused and having their reputation ruined. WHY AREN’T PARENTS DOING THEIR JOBS????

      Who’s going to teach a dance class, where as a good instructor you HAVE to put your hands on the children? Who’s going to take that risk?

      I think Mrs. Wilson articulated some of the genuine concerns teachers have. I think it’s the place of the education system’s leaders to find a more appropriate systemic approach to dealing with such matters.

  5. Well,well the antics of McCartney has forced the FNM machinery to allow the young persons in the party to speak but Wilson now knows its Carl Bethel so am getting the popcorn ready.Wilson must be seething as she is still pissed that Carl was fired from being Minister of Education and did not inform her.I am glad to see that there still exists a Torchbearers association as I thought they had either been stopped,cancelled or reviewed.Let the fight in the arena begin.

    • Beware of an individual with two last name;its obvious that mix up paragraph written by RUSSELL JOHNSON is an indication that person lacks intelligence or hails from the neighboring southwest island.

      • you serious says??? But daddy you tell my people to vote for you and we get passport,aint dat true?dont let Papa stop,cancel and review this promise.Oh you now say a promise is comfort to a fool?OK I tell the rest of my people what you say.I name Russell Johnson and you say you name”you serious” now thats a stupid name,where u from?

        • That’s right,I am serious and I never asked no one including RUSSELL JOHNSON to vote for me;and I ain’t part of no political party,furthermore I don’t care who you vote for,as matter of fact don’t for get to go home and vote.

  6. Besides that, the press statement is poorly written, incoherent and boring. Torchbearers should have gotten a teacher, or at least an adult, to check it for them. If ya coming, come correct!

  7. If half the leadership of this country had the strength and commitment to bahamians as does Mrs Wilson, our country would not be on its way to lost sovereignty.

    • Strength, for real. She is posturing for a political nomination. More opposition that the leader of the PLP.

      No strong evidence against Birbal. Teachers have reason to be concerned.

      Caine is another case. I believe he is married to a student he got pregnant. It goes that far back. Shouldn’t that have led to his arrest then? I could puke when his lawyer say give him bail cause he married to a Bahamian!

      • YES INDEED, POLITICS IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT… UNION LEADERS ARE PREPARING FOR THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY…. RIGHT MISS WILSON?

  8. With all the problems facing this country and even the FNM government. I find it amazing that this is the only issue torchbearers have issued a statement.

  9. “No problem with that,” You said it right; tell the young man to go and deal with the faults and weaknesses of that dictator leader of his. Like Bran said; no compassion and not listening to the Bahamian people.

  10. Mrs. Wilson was speaking on behalf of her teachers and their concerns with the current trends going on in the classroom. Upon holding meetings with fellow teachers, a lot of concerns and suggestions were brought up by various teachers MALE AND FEMALES. Never once did Mrs. Wilson suggest that Bribal should be free so Jamaal should not put insinuating such. As we do have the interests of the Bahamian students at heart, we must take into consideration our jobs….our safety….and the fact that times have changed. Students are also taking advantage of the current trends and they realize that they now have the power over the teachers. It appears, what is said is GOSPEL and the reputation of the teacher is not taken into concern. Jamaal Moss needs to be comment on the RANDY FRASER CASE! Why haven’t he been convicted guilty and send to jail with BRIBAL, when there is SO MANY EVIDENCE against him!

  11. Mrs. Wilson was speaking on behalf of her teachers and their concerns with the current trends going on in the classroom. Upon holding meetings with fellow teachers, a lot of concerns and suggestions were brought up by various teachers MALE AND FEMALES. Never once did Mrs. Wilson suggest that Bribal should be free so Jamaal should not put insinuating such. As we do have the

  12. While I have no problem with the President of the Torch Beares Associaton Jamal Moss,probing BUT President Belinda Wilson’s remarks in reference to sex predator Andre Bribal;whom I believe is no fan of the Bahamian people. Mr Moss ought to peruse his party leader and his party with the same scrutiny;being even more critical of them the FNM.

  13. I read the statement of Mrs Wilson and was apalled that there is over cases involving allegations against teachers.The Minister of National Security needs to get the manpower to effectively and efficiently investigate and where there is evidence then let them join Birbal at HMP.It is so painful to be told of so many sexual complaints against teachers and no matter who is involved the chips should fall where they may.

  14. The Torchbearers like their elders are out of touch.

    No where in what I saw yesterday is Ms Wilson defending Mr. Birbal or teachers who are found guilty of assaulting students, no matter the crime, everyone is innocent until proven guilty; all she is saying is that 1. the gov’t should put in place procedures to better protect teachers from false claims 2. some sort of punishment for those who make false claims 3. get those teachers who are on administrated leave either back in the classroom, if they are innocent or fired, if they are guilty and 4. she offered a warning to the teachers (I don’t think she meant ‘100ft’ literally)

    This rambling the Torchbearers are putting out is just that….political rambling.

    SHAME on Mr Bethel and Mr Moss; we need to protect students AND the teachers! No try score political points!

    The incident in Inagua when it plays out will be a classic example of why teachers, students, parents and especially need need better discretion.

    FURTHER, this is the first that I’m hearing from the Torchbearers in years! If they are so concerned about the Youth of the Nation; I beg them to speak up on education, the continued decay of the social fiber of our country, the cancelled guaranteed educational loan just to name a few.

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