Former president says dissatisfaction with leadership style prompted resignation from teachers’ union

Ashworth Azille (file photo)
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By Machela Osagboro

The former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) said that he made the best decision for the organisation and himself by tendering his resignation earlier this week.

Ashworth Azille told Observer yesterday that discontent among his colleagues regarding his leadership style was the primary reason he made the move, which also took the country by surprise.

He added that he was at peace with his decision because he had always put the needs of the ABUT above his own.

“As a leader, one has to be sensitive to the will of the people that he is being asked to serve. I could not be selfish, I had to put the interest of the organisation first and if the voices of the discontent are louder than those who are satisfied with my leadership then it is perhaps an opportunity for me to pause and consider what I would do,” shared Azille.

He said there had been dissatisfaction amongst some of the union’s members regarding his leadership style, as well as some fallout because of the Ministry’s handling of the change in the delivery of education due to Covid-19, which has caused a significant disruption in the learning process for students and teachers.

“In recent times, I have heard growing discontent with my style of leadership and the expectations that they have are not necessarily been met by myself,” he said.

“You ought to know when your time has come, and you ought to move on. You can’t hold the organisation at ransom. I believe very strongly that there is a time for progression and diplomacy. Mr Azille is not the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, I work with a very excellent team, I am not bigger than the organisation,” he said.

Azille said days before his resignation, the ABUT conducted a virtual general meeting in whichover 300 teachers participated, and his colleagues shared some very telling and hard opinions which resulted in his decision to step down.

“My involvement in the organization has been one of sacrifice. Some persons say that Azille is being too tough, Azille is not being too tough. I have given good leadership, I think that we have been able to move the organisation to a good place of professionalism and I have been responsive to the members,” he added.

The former president, who served in various capacities in the union for over 14 years, is currently the Principal of the Clare Hall Secondary School and also the president of the Caribbean Union of Teachers.
In the interim, the ABUT’s First Vice President, Josephine Frederick will take over leadership until a by-election is held to elect a new leader.

“I am just happy for the opportunity to share a little bit more with my friends and with my family and look about me,” Azille concluded. “That is exactly what I am going to be doing now.”

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