For months, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), led by President La Sonja Harrison, fiercely negotiated with the Government of Jamaica for all teachers. Finally, on Sunday, March 12, 2023, delegates were, in my opinion, cajoled into casting their votes from a virtual platform. The polls revealed that, of the 784 delegates in attendance, 147 voted against, whereas 629 voted to accept.
For a brief moment it would seem that the union had finally come to an agreement with the Government. All that was left now was to sign a formal agreement.
On Monday, March 13, 2023, fate did not smile upon President Harrison, as shortly before the agreement could be signed she opted to withdraw from the signing and, instead, asked President-Elect Leighton Johnson to represent the union. Additionally, in photos of the president that surfaced in the media, it could be seen that she had a slouched posture and a seemingly dull demeanour. Since then, persons have begun to question the integrity of Harrison as president and some have even called for her resignation. There were countless witty and misogynistic remarks hurled at her during various consultations.
I am of the opinion that President Harrison is extremely uncomfortable with the results from the polls, as any meticulous educator would be. I have reason to believe that she knows the offer made to teachers is not an acceptable one, and therefore her conscience would not allow her to sign such an agreement.
Something is weighing heavily on the shoulders of the JTA president, and teachers as well as other stakeholders have borne witness to that fact.
It is common knowledge that what is done in the dark will eventually come to light. For the leader of the union to withdraw from signing an agreement of that magnitude speaks volumes.
"Heavy is the head that wears the crown." Whereas it is easy for the general public to sit and lay blame squarely at the feet of the president, she may be fighting battles beyond our understanding at this point.
In good judgement, let us not be deceived or intimated by the power-hungry wolves disguised in sheep's clothing. And may those who seek to derail her take into consideration Isaiah 5:20 â€” "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"
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