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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Government’s laxity worrisome

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There are so many issues the government has chosen to ignore despite the urgency needed to address a number of grievances that seem not to bother the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government at all.

Topping that list – and in need of urgent attention – is the teachers’ strike which has not only halted lessons in primary school but it also threatens the lives of pupils who are taking to the streets.

In the past few days, the passive nation woke up to the chants of primary school pupils who are angered by government’s reluctance to address the grievances of teachers.

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Just as much as we do not condone pupils’ conduct – inconveniencing motorists and blocking vehicles — theirs is a genuine concern which ought to move government to act swiftly. Government has no choice but wake up from its slumber and treat important issues with urgency.

Already, there seems to be no progress in the re-opening of Chancellor College which has remained closed for months despite the public outcry to find a solution so that students should go back to college.

A number of other important issues also remain unaddressed and the government tactic – to allow the public to discuss the issues on social media and eventually forget everything – is very dangerous. Someday, all these issues will resurface and it will be too late for the government to find a solution.

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If indeed government is serious about the direction this country should take, failing to address the teachers’ grievances is a huge mistake. It must be appreciated that education is key to development and any attempt to suffocate the education system – by failing to address things that matter – is throwing spanners into the very development project that the DPP-led government has preached.

We also share the concerns of the Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) that the 10 percent increment is too minimal and it will not do much to improve the welfare of civil servants. The ordinary people rely hugely on public services and it is this group of people who should not be ignored.

It is rare that the government is ever moved by ultimatums but what is important is that CSTU is willing to continue negotiating with government to find a solution.

The onus is on government to grab this opportunity and for once display urgency in dealing with important issues; otherwise, the laxity that the government has shown in the past few months is dangerous.

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