Unions lobby for discounted air fares

POSTED: 12/15/14 10:18 PM

St. Maarten —Airlines in the Caribbean are being lobbied by the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) to assist with reduced flight fares for their membership that will make it possible for them to attend the various meetings and events of the CUT. That’s according to president of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot on the heels of her attendance and participation in the 36th biennial executive meeting and education conference of the CUT in Belize. The conference was held under the theme embracing opportunities in education and defending trade unionism and the WITU was represented by union president Claire Elshot and union Vice President Corraine Van-Putten.

Elshot explained in a press conference yesterday that the cost of inter-Caribbean travel limits the number of delegates from each union that is able to attend these conferences and the unions making up the CUT agree that attendance at these meetings would be beneficial for their membership. According to Elshot, the unions are also concerned about the cost to attend the CUT interscholastic games held in different islands in the Caribbean each year and attended by budding athletes from the schools on the islands. Many of these young athletes go on to participate in the Carifta games as representatives of their islands.

The CUT interscholastic games are held every two years and the next one is carded to be held in 2016 in BVI, followed by Bermuda in 2018 and St. Maarten is billed to play host to these games in 2020. A team from St. Maarten was unable to participate in this years’ game and this was in large part due to the cost involved. Elshot is optimistic that St. Maarten will be able to be in attendance at the 2016 games in Tortola and the 2018 games in Bermuda which will better prepare them for participation on their home turn in 2020 and this is among topics the union hopes to discuss with the incoming minister of education.

The 37th biennial conference of the CUT is carded for August 2015 in Dominica where it will be hosted by the Dominica Association of Teachers and Elshot expressed the hope that some of her membership, and not just herself and the Vice President of the union, will be able to attend this conference.

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