GTU installs new president, executive

-increase in transparency, accountability among plans

Mark Lyte, Deputy Head Teacher of Tutorial Academy Secondary School, has replaced Colin Bynoe as president of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU).

The change in the union’s head became imminent last Saturday when preliminary results from the union’s elections were made available. Lyte’s presidency of the union became official yesterday evening during an installation ceremony.

The results also revealed that Lyte copped the most votes for the union’s vice-president post. Since Lyte cannot hold two positions, it was decided last evening that Lesmin Collins, who secured the second highest number of votes for the vice-president position, would take the post.

Lyte, who has served as a teacher for 18 years, holds a Master’s in Education, a Bachelors in Social Studies, an Associate Degree in Theology,

Mark Lyte
Mark Lyte

a Management Certificate from the Ministry of Education as well as his Trained Teachers Certificate.

During an interview with Stabroek News yesterday he expressed ambitions to increase the level of transparency and accountability in the union’s operations. He also shared hopes of improving the level of professionalism with which teachers dispatch their responsibilities.

Further, he said that he wants to make the union more visible to teachers, and ensure that they are represented wherever they are located.

Lyte also said he wants to work towards arrangements which will see the teachers receiving higher salaries, and being provided with all the resources they need to do their jobs.

Also securing executive spots are Coretta McDonald, who was re-elected as General Secretary; Donette D’Andrade, Vice-President for Berbice; Hazel Pyle, Vice-President for Demerara; Jacqueline Douglas, Deputy General Secretary and Samantha Allen, Treasurer.

Meanwhile, Julian Cambridge and Desire Van Lewis retained the Second Vice-President and Vice-President for Essequibo posts, respectively, as there were no challengers for these positions.

McDonald told Stabroek News earlier this week that the results come after an almost three-month-long voting process, and after 3,000 of the GTU’s nearly 7,500 contributing members returned their ballots.

The GTU utilises the postal service to send ballots to the various schools around Guyana. Once the ballots arrive at the schools, the head teachers are responsible for ensuring that every contributing union member receives one.


Around 3,000 of the GTU’s nearly 7,500 contributing members returned ballots cast during elections, which started in February and concluded in April. After ballots were cast school heads would have collected them and returned them via the postal service.

They were counted on April 16.

McDonald said the entire elections process, including the counting of ballots, was handled by an Elections Officer. This official, she explained, was selected from a pool of persons who responded to a notice expressing the need for such an officer.

McDonald said that several persons responded to the notice, and one was chosen after examining the experience and qualifications of the lot. Once chosen, she continued, the Elections Officer has no personal contact with any of the persons contesting elections, although the candidates were allowed to write letters to communicate with the officer.


Low voter turnout


Lamenting the relatively low number of votes cast, McDonald said the posture of teachers toward GTU election mirrors the attitude of Guyanese toward general elections in many ways. Many teachers, she explained, are not convinced that their vote will make a difference and therefore opt not to vote, even though they are provided with ballot sheets.

At the same time, some votes were not counted because they did not get to or from schools in time. McDonald noted that it takes the postal service a while to deliver mail, especially to outlying regions. On one occasion, she said, it took the post office 16 days to deliver registered mail to a teacher in Sophia.

Teachers in outlying areas, including Kato in Potaro-Siparuni, the Rupununi, and theUupper Mazaruni, suffer a lot because mail is only sent into these areas once or twice every two weeks or so. And, even when the ballots reach the villages, they are dropped at a central location and it is left to the teachers to access them. This has been an area of great concern for the GTU, McDonald said, before adding that the union has been working with the post office to improve the method used to disseminate the ballots.



Latest in Local News

Omar Shariff

Ministry of the Presidency official Shariff sent on leave pending SOCU investigation

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP), Omar Shariff has been sent on leave by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, a release from MOTP said today.

default placeholder

Body found in rubble of Wales fire

At 01:30hrs today, police say that a fire destroyed a home at Wales, West Bank Demerara, and the body of an unidentified person was subsequently discovered among the rubble.

default placeholder

Exxon Mobil says second well confirms `significant’ oil find

Exxon Mobil Corporation today said that drilling results from the Liza-2 well, the second exploration well in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana, confirm a world-class find with a recoverable deposit of between 800 million and 1.4 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

default placeholder

Proposed law bans smoking in public places

Proposed tobacco control legislation will see a ban on smoking in public places while cigarette advertising will no longer be allowed and pictorial and text health warnings will have to be displayed on at least 75% of the packaging on tobacco products.

default placeholder

$800M in specialty hospital steel ‘awarded’ to BK

Government needs to explain why about $800 million worth of steel and other equipment that were earmarked for the now-frozen specialty hospital project, went solely to businessman Brian Tiwarie, former President Donald Ramotar says.

Ezekiel Murray

Truck driver jailed for three years for crash causing child’s death

Clyde Barker, the truck driver who was accused of running over 12-year-old Ezekiel Murray along the Friendship Public Road last year and causing his death, was yesterday sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

default placeholder

Businessman jailed and fined over gun, ammo possession

A businessman was yesterday sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined $100,000 after being found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

default placeholder

Business minister ‘in denial’ over economic ‘crisis’

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday said that Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin is in denial about Guyana not being in an economic crisis.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: