Member of Parliament for St Philip South Lennox Weston has come in for strong criticism from the head of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) after comments he made in Parliament on Thursday.
Weston took two popular principals – Dr Colin Greene, of Princess Margaret Secondary, and Foster Roberts, of Ottos Comprehensive – to task over what he considers their rebellious and irresponsible actions during ABUT meetings on the matter of the vaccine mandate for educators.
“The fella Mackellar, he is from Freetown but I have to pull him up because he too soft. He make this other Bethesda soft boy name Roberts, a little softy, and my partner Greene is just bitter,” Weston said.
“They didn’t give him Director of Education way back with Miss Pringle and he vex with the whole world. Even his wife he bex with, she pass him up now. Just vex and bitter and walk around with bile in his stomach and oppose everything,” the MP told parliament on Thursday.
“They now go and they take the honorable Freetown man who stood up for leadership. Because if you are a good leader, you must tell people to make the right choice; that is what leaders do. You propel them, encourage them, entice them,” Weston said.
“You must encourage people to make the right choice and he stood up as a wise man from the east and he said, it’s not about popularity. It’s not about blue, red, pink or not.
“It’s about the right choice and saving lives and protecting students and he made his decision and these two fellas humiliate the man. They said they had the man crying. He couldn’t believe his two partners were so vicious,” Weston added.
He continued on in his presentation to jokingly say that Roberts, after carrying on with such reckless behavior in the public forum, had in fact the next day secretly gone to get vaccinated.
But ABUT head Kimdale Mackellar hit out out at Weston’s remarks, deeming them “unnecessary”.
“I would like to take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms statements made in Parliament yesterday by the Honorable Lennox Weston in relation to two members of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers; they were uncalled for, unwarranted and unnecessary,” MacKellar said.
“The individuals have and continue to make sterling contributions to not only the ABUT but to education. Even though we have gone to war about it, I will like to make it clear that attacks on any members will be seen as an attack on all,” he added.
Following a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the Teachers’ Union said most of its members had voted against teachers being directed to take the Covid-19 vaccine, which is currently required in order for them to remain employed with the government and for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
The teachers’ stance was also criticised by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who said, “Teachers at some point will be required … as soon as the epidemiological position improves … to do face-to-face and I want to say to those teachers, not one of you going into one public classroom without being vaccinated and that’s a promise.”