Disputed Elections in Jamaica Teacher’s Association to be Resolved Via Mediation
The disputed election of a new president of the Jamaica Teacher’s Association (JTA) will be resolved in mediation, the outgoing president announced. Former JTA president Dr. Mark Nicely announced that efforts are underway to keep the dispute out of the court system and to resolve it through direct negotiation.
In June, an election was held among JTA members and Georgia Waugh Richards was declared the winner and new JTA President. However, a recount was ordered by the Electoral Office, which declared Norman Allen, who had come in second in the initial count, the winner. Richards promptly filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction preventing Allen from being announced as the winner at the annual JTA conference.
There is a strong sentiment within the JTA to resolve the issue using mediation and discussion rather than a lawsuit. Most members and several former presidents of the organization have expressed a strong belief that litigation would be destructive to the organization, the membership morale, and to the dignity and power of the office of JTA president itself. Outgoing President Nicely stated he would organize a mediation to resolve the dispute and he expected the full cooperation of both Allen and Richards.
The JTA is essentially a national teacher’s union and boasts almost all professional educators in the country as members. As such, it has significant influence and power over the educational system in that country and negotiations between teachers and schools, making the choice of President a crucial one.