MINISTER of Education Rev Ronald Thwaites yesterday apologised to the former chairman and members of the Teachers' Services Commission (TSC) for the way in which they were dismissed last week.
In a letter (see page 9) responding to yesterday's Jamaica Observer editorial, Thwaites said he accepted responsibility for "the awkward release of Government's decision to refresh the membership of the TSC" and apologised for the manner in which the decision became known to them.
The decision, he said, was taken to "allow institutions like the churches and the JTA to nominate fresh representatives".
Thwaites also said TSC Chairman Alphansus Davis and the commission's members did not offer their resignations upon the change of Administration. But he conceded that the outgoing commissioners should have been thanked for their services before the new appointments were revealed.
The editorial, which seemingly forced the minister's apology, described the firing of the TSC as two-faced and underhanded.
In the meantime, Davis' response to Thwaites' account of the TSC's dismissal has left even more unanswered questions on the part of the Government.
"We have no quarrel at all with the minister exercising his rights to revoke the appointment of members. The quarrel is with the unprincipled manner in which he went about it," Davis told the Observer.
"The fact of the matter is that all the members of the board, upon the change of Government, sought advice from the (TSC) secretariat, including myself, and we were all prepared to tender our resignations. We were informed that there is no such precedent for the TSC, and therefore we did not tender our resignations", Davis said.
The outgoing chairman said further that Thwaites did not follow the regular human relations practice of giving the TSC members the option of resigning instead of being fired.
"... If you are unsatisfied with a worker and you want to get rid of him, you call the worker and say I am unsatisfied with you; I am giving you the option to resign or be fired," Davis said. "The minister did not give us that privilege. He didn't even do his research to find out what were our intentions, or indicate that he was unsatisfied with us. If the minister did that I would honorably respond in the positive and give the minister my resignation."
Davis also chided Thwaites for what he said was the impression given that there was a backlog in the process of appointing principals, when this was not the case.