When all the votes are counted later today, history will be created today when a woman is selected to lead the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA).
The election of a new executive for the teachers’ union got underway this morning.
Vying for the post of President is Upper Carapichaima Presbyterian Primary School Principal, Nirmala Chinebas-Dindial; Eastern Boys’ Government School Principal, Jemima Riley; and senior teacher at Tunapuna Girls’ RC School, Antonia De Freitas.
The election process, which is held every three years, began at 7 am today and is expected to close at 5 pm.
The other posts being contested by 11 candidates include: first vice-president; second vice-president; third vice-president; treasurer; and general secretary.
Outgoing President, Lynsley Doodhai, explained while there is a base school in each of the eight education districts where members can go to cast their votes—there will be roving ballot boxes throughout each area to accommodate teachers unable to leave their respective schools.
He said this is to ensure all members at primary and secondary schools throughout T&T will have the opportunity to cast their vote.
Meanwhile, Doodhai said only members who are in good financial standing with TTUTA would be able to vote.
Specially trained teachers are assisting with the election process.
With TTUTA’s membership standing at 11,500—Doodhai said based on previous voting patterns—they are expecting between 7,000 and 8,000 persons to vote.
And although preliminary results will be announced late this evening after the ballots are counted, the final results would only be officially announced within the next 48 hours.
This, Doodhai said, was to accommodate any candidates wanting a recount.
The ballot boxes are to be brought to TTUTA’s head office in Curepe after the election closes at 5 pm, where they will then be tallied.
Doodhai, who has served two consecutive terms on TTUTA’s executive, was statute-barred from contesting today’s election.
He served as second vice-president from 2013 to 2016; and then as president from 2016 to 2019.
Revealing he was satisfied with the strides made during his tenure, Doodhai said, “I have no ambition to return again, I am glad to move on.”
Having recently completed his law studies, Doodhai said he was eager to pursue other interests such as publishing material for use by students writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam and other professional opportunities.
Story by ANNA-LISA PAUL