By Orville Williams
Ashworth Azille, current President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT), has been elected to serve as President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT).
The appointment was made at the CUT’s 39th Biennial Conference, which was hosted by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union last week.
Held under the theme, “Caribbean Educators and their Unions Taking the Lead”, the conference was attended by educators from several Caribbean countries, seeking to address challenges affecting the education sector.
Having served as 2nd Vice-President of the CUT for the past two years, President Azille was elated to be elected to the top position. He paid tribute to the ABUT for its support during his bid for the presidency and for the great strides it has been making during his tenure.
“A very big thank you to my [own] organization for nominating me and supporting my candidacy for the President of the Caribbean Union of Teachers. We have been a very active member of the 24-territory organization and we have been able to demonstrate that as a trade union, we have the capacity to [help to] influence the decision-making process as it relates to education throughout the region,” he said.
Looking forward to his tenure in this new role, Azille outlined some of the goals that he will be aiming to achieve.
“I look forward, certainly, to advancing the cause of the CUT. We have had a number of issues on the table for the last several years, which include trying to ensure that we can have a greater voice around the table as it relates to policies that affect education and educators specifically throughout the region – which means engaging with CARICOM, the OECS and CXC,” he explained.
Azille, who was also returned as president of the ABUT during elections held earlier this year, sought to assure all relevant stakeholders that neither role will be neglected. He will be supported at the CUT by two Vice-Presidents and two Trustees, each from various territories around the region – with whom he maintains “there is a natural communication that flows, which permits us to get our tasks done”.
In reaffirming his commitment to making the best use of his tenure as president, he stated, “Our task now is to try to bring the Caribbean Union of Teachers much closer together to ensure that we
harmonize our efforts towards achieving a greater sense of social justice, in achieving a greater response to our desire to see quality public education throughout the region.”
The CUT is an organization geared toward bringing together teaching unions from different countries, with the aim of intensifying teaching efforts in the Caribbean and ensuring that teachers are treated right. It has 24 member countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.