The Charter of the United Nations proclaims, that in order to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and in order to promote social progress and better standards of life in the world, we the people have:- - practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours,.... - to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security,..... - to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest,..... - to employ international machinery to the promotion of the economic and social advancement of our peoples......"
Theses ends cannot be achieved without orderly, discipline and structured methods, and without the necessary institutions to help achieve them. What we are doing here is a continuation of efforts to help achieve an idea which was conceived many years ago, but which was signed by the representatives of all peace loving peoples fifty-one years ago. We are despatching you after having prepared you to help achieve some of the goals set out in the preamble of the United Nations Charter.
It is in the common interest that many countries have armed or defence forces, and that virtually every country has a police force or a police service, to maintain law and order, and to serve and protect citizens in their respective countries and communities is the role of this forces. Some section of these forces assume special responsibilities and perform special services. You the participants of this RSS Leaders Course have the task of going to your respective countries and of preparing that section of your police or defence force charged with special responsibilities and services.
The course is a result of joint efforts by regional and other friendly governments. Funding for the course is provided by the Government of the United Kingdom and the United States. A British Military advisory and training team provided monitors to ensure that the highest standards were maintained. Participants hail from every member state of the Regional Security system. Barbados, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis provided instructors. CARICOM's contribution is via an instructor who is a Guyanese national.
The problems we face in the region are not country - specific, nor are their effects confined within the rim of the Caribbean basin. Like giant tentacles, these problems reach out to persons all over the world. Our problems therefore are global, and consequently the solutions lie in global efforts.
What is special about this course is that you who are graduating are equipped to go to your territories and impart your knowledge to others. You are to go to train leaders and potential leaders, so that they themselves may command and train members of a special services or equivalent unit. You did the leadership phase in dry and grassy Antigua, butt you had to come to Dominica for the jungle training. I hope that our virgin forest and the tough terrain of Dominica was kind to you. I am sure that you will leave here after this kind of training, ready for any eventuality.
It is expected that you will now go and provide leadership for personnel under your command, plan and conduct operations, respond to internal security situations, respond to emergency situations, operate and survive in jungle environment, train members of your respective units I understand from those who have been working with you and observing you that you are adequately suited to that kind of work.
This sort of exercise has prepared you for working together on a regional basis. As I indicated earlier our efforts must not be confined to any one country, and these weeks you have spent together have prepared you for any joint regional operation. You have learnt to know each other, to work with each other, to understand each other. You have learnt each other's strengths and weaknesses, each other's idiosyncrasies, each other's foibles. This will certainly help you work with harmony when the occasion calls for it.
One area of operation which is of deep concern to all the world, and in which I am sure you and those under your charge will surely be involved in the fight against the narcotics industry. So many of our promising young men and women are like living-deads because of the scourge of illegal drugs. This is a problem which cannot be solved by one agency or one country. It is by joint action we can get anywhere near bringing matters to where they should be. You will be called upon at some time to get involved in joint operations, and that is why the course which together you have just completed is so important.
Much has been said and heard about drugs barons in recent days and weeks. I sincerely hope that there are no drug barons in Dominica, but if there are, let me ask them please to stop destroying our children and young people. Let me remind them that every individual belongs to a wider family, and they have families too. Let me say to my fellow leaders, do not give any encouragement or comfort to the drug barons who are destroying our children and young people. Let me say to our professionals who have a duty and responsibility, and I am sure, a commitment to see that justice is done, do not assist the drug barons who are destroying our children and young people. Let me say to our law enforcement officers that in your fight against the drug barons who are destroying our children and young people, you have the full support of the government which I lead.
I wish at this stage to say thanks to all who have made this course a success: the government of the United Kingdom and United States for funding, and the Governments of the region for their contribution. Special thanks to the RSS training team who worked under the able command of Assistant Superintendent Pierre-Louis, and to the British Military Advisory and Training Team.
To all those who are from outside Dominica, I hope that you have enjoyed your stay here, and that you will want to return, not to quell any riot or for any military exercise, but to enjoy some moments of relaxation and peace in our beautiful isle. Congratulations to all of you who are graduating. Congratulations especially to the one adjudge the best student. Once more thank you and God speed.
Thirty years ago, the United Nations started observing 8th September as International Literacy Day, Today, we in Dominica join the rest of the world in highlighting the condition of nearly one million adults world-wide representing 27 percent of the world's adult population who are unable to read and write, to use the jargon, who are not functionally literate. Of these people, 12,000 are our own Dominicans representing 20.4% of our adult population, that is, persons 15 years and over.
International Literacy day has been used in Dominica as part of the programme for literacy month, to focus attention on the efforts made to eradicate this scourge among our people. Some say that illiteracy in our country is on the decline. I sincerely hope that this is true.
This year the theme for the day is "Reducing poverty through Literacy."
It is not easy to make a scientific measurement, but there is empirical evidence to show a correlation between poverty and illiteracy. There is good reasons to believe that poverty reinforces illiteracy and vice versa. A common example is that parents use children to work either on the farm or in low level unskilled jobs to provide income for the family thereby reducing the time spent at school.
Parent who have come through similar experiences are themselves not literate and are therefore not equipped to teach their children at home to make up for time lost at school. the situations becomes even more complex because of peculiar attitudes, behaviour patterns, value systems, spending and borrowing patterns, relationships and so on developed by illiterates.
Of the 5.7 billion people who inhabit our planet earth 1.3 billion people live in poverty. About 1/3 of the population in the developing world lives in poverty, and it is estimated that world wide, there are 95 million children under the age of 15 who are working to help poverty plagued families.
however, too many of the illiterates for a variety of reasons do not come forward to take advantage of the opportunities provided. The efforts being made only scratch the surface of the problems.
there is much more to be done not only to alleviate the plight of some 12,000 illiterate Dominicans but also to prevent the number from growing. there are still too many of our children leaving school or dropping out of school before being at least functionally literate.
Illiteracy not only prevent the full potentials of human beings from being realised but it also does much to damage to their self esteem.
As a former Secretary General of the United Nations Javier Perez De Cuellar said in 1989 when he launched "International Literacy Year."
".....Illiteracy is not only an obstacle to effective participation in society, in much of the developing world where mass illiteracy is rife, it constitutes a threat to the progress of society itself with all that entails in suffering, deprivation and missed opportunities."
In our rapidly evolving world, literacy is becoming a critical factor in obtaining employment's. Technological change and the use of the computer as a normal working tool will very soon demand much more than functional literacy as a minimum requirement for employment. Indeed, the definition of functional literacy could very well be changed in the not too distant future.
The relative sophistication now required of farmers and other workers in the banana industry to meet the demands of the export market is instructive.
The current level of more than a 20 percent illiteracy rate which includes a 27 percent rate among our men, must therefore be a cause for serious concern.
the adult education division utilising a small core staff with the help of volunteers has over the years been working hard to raise the level of awareness of the problem throughout the island and teaching some of the illiterates.
A few times have co-operated with the Division to provide instructions for some of their illiterates employees at the work place.
Today let each one of us resolve to do all we can to help our brothers and sisters to break out of the illiteracy/poverty cycle.
I WISH TO ADDRESS YOU ON THE MATTER OF THE ONGOING DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA AND THE DOMINICA ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS (DAT) RELATING TO NEGOTIATIONS FOR SALARIES AND WAGES AND OTHER NON-MONETARY MATTERS TOUCHING ON CONDITIONS OF SERVICE OF TEACHERS.
NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DAT BEGAN IN MARCH 1996. THE GOVERNMENT'S NEGOTIATING TEAM WAS LED BY THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER WHILE THE DAT'S TEAM WAS HEADED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE DAT. THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE NEGOTIATIONS CENTERED AROUND SALARY ADJUSTMENTS FOR THE YEARS 1994/95, 1995/96 AND 1996/97.
THE NON-MONETARY MATTERS INCLUDED:-
THE NEGOTIATING TEAMS HELD SEVERAL MEETINGS AT WHICH THEY EXAMINED THE PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD BY EACH SIDE.
THE ORIGINAL PROPOSALS PUT FORWARD FOR SALARY ADJUSTMENTS WERE AS FOLLOWS:-
GOVERNMENT PROPOSED FOR:- 1994/95 - 0% INCREASE 1995/96 - 0% INCREASE 1996/97 - 2% INCREASE THE DAT PROPOSED FOR:- 1994/95 - 5% INCREASE 1995/96 - 10% INCREASE 1996/97 - 12% INCREASE A COMPROMISE WAS EVENTUALLY REACHED FOR THE FOLLOWING SALARY INCREASES:- 1994/95 - 2% INCREASE 1995/96 - 1% INCREASE 1996/97 - 3% INCREASE
THE GOVERNMENT PROPOSED THAT THERE BE NO RETROACTIVE PAY, THAT IS, NO BACK PAY FOR THE FIRST PERIOD 1994/95 WHILE THE DAT PROPOSED THAT RETROACTIVE PAY BE MADE FOR THAT PERIOD.
THE MATTER OF THE PROVISION OF LAND BY THE GOVERNMENT TO THE DAT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN OFFICE BECAME PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONS AND THE DAT UNDERTOOK TO SUBMIT A FORMAL PROPOSAL FOR GOVERNMENT'S CONSIDERATION.
ON TUESDAY JULY 9, 1996 CABINET MET WITH THE EXECUTIVE OF THE DAT IN AN EFFORT TO CONCLUDE THE NEGOTIATIONS. AT THAT MEETING IT WAS NOTED THAT MOST OF THE NON-MONETARY MATTERS WERE SATISFACTORILY RESOLVED AND GOVERNMENT UNDERTOOK TO SPEEDILY DEAL WITH THE OTHERS. AT THAT MEETING ALSO GOVERNMENT REITERATED THAT IT WAS UNABLE TO MAKE RETROACTIVE PAY INCREASES AND URGED THE DAT TO ACCEPT THE OFFER OF 2%, 1% AND 3% WITHOUT RETROACTIVE PAY FOR THE FIRST PERIOD.
THE DAT REMAINED ADAMANT THAT IT WOULD NOT FOREGO SUCH RETROACTIVE PAY.
AT THAT MEETING TOO THE DAT SAID THAT THEY WERE NOT INTERESTED IN RECEIVING
LAND IN LIEU OF RETROACTIVE PAY.
SINCE THE MEETING BETWEEN CABINET AND THE DAT THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL EXCHANGES OF LETTERS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES. THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER WROTE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE DAT BY LETTER DATED JULY 11, 1996 RESTATING GOVERNMENT'S OFFER AND URGING THE DAT TO FORGO RETROACTIVE PAY FOR 1994/95.
THE DAT BY LETTER DATED JULY 15, 1996, INFORMED THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER THAT ITS MEMBERS HAD AGREED TO ACCEPT GOVERNMENT'S OFFER BUT INSISTED ON RECEIVING RETROACTIVE PAY.
IN THAT LETTER ALSO THE ASSOCIATION'S PRESIDENT THANKED THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER FOR WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER'S DISINTERESTEDNESS, THAT IS, AS THE PRESIDENT EXPLAINED, THE IMPARTIALITY OF THE CPO IN THE CONDUCT OF THE NEGOTIATING SESSIONS.
BY LETTER OF JULY 16, 1996, TO THE DAT, THE CPO RESTATED GOVERNMENT'S OFFER AND EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT A SPOKESMAN FOR THE ASSOCIATION IN A PUBLIC STATEMENT HAD GIVEN THE IMPRESSION THAT GOVERNMENT'S OFFER INCLUDED RETROACTIVE PAY FOR THE 1994/95 PERIOD.
GOVERNMENT WAS SURPRISED THAT IN HIS REPLY THE PRESIDENT OF THE DAT FOUND IT APPROPRIATE TO SUGGEST THAT THE ASSOCIATION WAS BEING USED AS A TOOL IN WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS POLITICAL CONFUSION.
WE ARE YET TO UNDERSTAND THE REASON OR MOTIVE FOR THIS OUTBURST SINCE THIS ISSUE IS BY NO MEANS A POLITICAL MATTER AND HAS NEVER BEEN TREATED AS SUCH BY THIS GOVERNMENT.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN AND INTENDS TO CONTINUE, DEALING WITH THE DAT IN GOOD FAITH.
IN THIS REGARD IT IS OF MUCH DISAPPOINTMENT TO US THAT THE DAT PRESIDENT HAS SOUGHT TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT GOVERNMENT'S OFFER TO THE ASSOCIATION INCLUDED BACK PAY FOR THE PERIOD 1994/95 AND THAT GOVERNMENT SUBSEQUENTLY RENEGED ON THAT OFFER. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE AND IT IS WRONG FOR THE PRESIDENT TO HAVE DONE SO.
THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO URGE THE DAT TO FOREGO ITS CLAIM FOR BACK PAY FOR 1994/95.
IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT A NUMBER OF MATTERS WHICH WERE LONG OUTSTANDING EVEN BEFORE THIS ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE HAVE BEEN RESOLVED IN FAVOUR OF THE DAT. FOR EXAMPLE, PRIMARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS WHO WERE UNILATERALLY DENIED INCREMENTS FOR SEVERAL YEARS HAVE HAD THOSE INCREMENTS REINSTATED AND BACK PAY TOTALING $164,160.00 HAS TO BE PAID TO THE TEACHERS INVOLVED.
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS IMPLEMENTED THE PROVISIONS OF AN AGREEMENT TO INCLUDE QUALIFIED TEACHERS AND PRIMARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS IN A VEHICLE LOAN SCHEME WHICH WILL ASSIST THEM WITH THE PURCHASE OF VEHICLES. THIS IS A MATTER WHICH REMAINED OUTSTANDING UNDER THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION.
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS REGULARISED THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION ON THE JOB/EVALUATION REVIEW COMMITTEE - AGAIN ANOTHER MATTER WHICH WAS LONG OUTSTANDING.
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS ALLOCATED SUBSTANTIAL RESOURCES TO AREAS OF ACTIVITY
WHICH WILL CERTAINLY ADDRESS IN A POSITIVE WAY THE LONG OUTSTANDING CONCERNS
OF TEACHERS AND THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM AS A WHOLE - A FACT
WHICH HAS BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE DAT.
GOVERNMENT HAS STARTED THE ISSUING OF FREE TEXT BOOKS TO STUDENTS. GOVERNMENT HAS INCREASED SUBSTANTIALLY THE NUMBER OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PLACES. GOVERNMENT IS IN PROCESS OF INCREASING THE QUANTITY OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT.
GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED TO APPOINT SEVERAL TEACHERS WHO HAVE BEEN SUBSTITUTING FOR LENGTHY PERIODS.
ALL THESE AND MORE ARE GEARED TOWARDS IMPROVING THE LOT AND STATUS OF TEACHERS.
ALL WE ASK IN RETURN IS FOR THE TEACHERS TO BE REASONABLE AND UNDERSTANDING AT THIS TIME.
THIS MORNING GOVERNMENT AND THE CIVIL SERVICE ASSOCIATION SIGNED AN AGREEMENT FOR INCREASES IN SALARIES FOR THE PERIOD 1994/95 TO 1996/97 WITH NO BACK PAY FOR THE YEAR 1994/95 AND IT IS EXPECTED THAT SALARIES TO PUBLIC SERVANTS WILL BE PAID AT THE NEW LEVELS BY THE END OF THIS MONTH.
GOVERNMENT WOULD BE HAPPY TO SIGN A SIMILAR AGREEMENT WITH THE DAT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
GOVERNMENT REMAINS OPEN TO DIALOGUE WITH THE DAT AND LOOKS FORWARD VERY MUCH TO AN EARLY AND AMICABLE SETTLEMENT OF THIS ISSUE. WE SEEK THE COOPERATION OF ALL TEACHERS IN THIS MATTER.