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Thwaites: No ill-feeling towards Dixon

Wednesday, August 13, 2014    

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EDUCATION Minister Ronald Thwaites says he bears no ill-feeling towards Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) President-Elect Doran Dixon and that both men are now focused on improving Jamaica's education system.

Thwaites was responding to a request at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange to describe the relationship between himself and Dixon, who last year attracted a lot of flak for a verbal attack on the minister.

Dixon, in a campaign address to teachers, had likened a dispute between Thwaites and the JTA as a stand-off between a "mongrel dog" and a "lion-hearted cat".

Dixon made the statement after Thwaites had announced a cut in teacher benefits in Parliament.

He refused loud calls for him to apologise to the minister and added further fuel to the flames when he chanted the chorus to the Baha Men song, Who Let The Dogs Out at another campaign meeting.

He was axed from the presidential race by the JTA's Credentials Committee, but, in response, threatened to take legal action amidst questions as to whether the committee's action was lawful.

Eventually, Dixon was reinstated and won the June 17-21, 2013 election, garnering 9,051 of the 14,716 votes cast.

He will assume the presidency at the JTA's 50th annual general conference next week in Montego Bay.

On Monday, Thwaites told Observer reporters and editors that he enjoys a "cordial, professional relationship with the executive" of the JTA and particularly, with Dixon.

"A minister of Government must make sure that he or she is able to relate to those who are crucial to the achievement of whatever his or her responsibility is, and what is past is gone, I don't have any feelings," Thwaites said.

"What he and I are interested in is the transformation of the education system. We speak on a regular basis and there is no acrimony; there will be differences, but there is no acrimony, there can be no place for that," the minister insisted.

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