Vern Charles elected as SLTU President

A new executive has been selected to lead the Saint Lucia Teachers’ Union (SLTU), with Vern Charles principal of the Roblot Combined School, as president.

Charles, who will be replacing former president Don Howell, won in the election held on Tuesday, beating her opponent John Estephane by 302 votes. (Charles acquired a total of 774 votes overall).

Vern Charles

“I have to say a huge thank you to all the teachers out there who voted for me. Of course I am quite thrilled that they felt I was worthy of that position and that they placed their confidence in me,” Charles said in an interview on Thursday.

Moreover, she said, “the organization has to be progressive, it has to be one that is open to new ideas, it has to be one that is inclusive and it has to be one that is based on fostering engagement because we serve our members so we are going to be big on that. Even as I receive congratulatory messages, along with each message was an expectation so I got remarks like you can make a difference or you will make the difference; represent well, negotiate well and listen to the members.”
The new executive will be leading the SLTU for the next two years.

According to Vern Charles, “when we get in there we will be working with the outgoing executive to ensure that we continue the negotiation process. At this point in time it is all about the members and about SLTU and that’s the most important thing. We will ensure that whatever is on the table we negotiate for it as fairly as possible and we ensure that our teachers’ welfare is met considering the many challenges and issues that they face.”

John Estephane, who accepted his defeat gracefully, wished the new executive nothing but the best moving forward. Commenting on Charles’ ‘stupendous’ victory, he said “I believe the members of SLTU gave her a clear mandate to govern the affairs of the organization for the next biennium. I want to wish her the best and I hope that the SLTU can grow from strength to strength. I hope that everybody can now bury the hatchet and build the SLTU so that we can move as one organization.”
Vern Charles, though elated, said the new executive has much work to do.

“We have a foundation. For the union it’s all about continuity, growth and progress so we will be continuing the works that have begun and we will be building on that and looking at our shortfalls and identifying ways in which we can continue to improve our union. Unity is on the agenda, it’s very big for me. I love engagement, I love keeping our members informed, I love interacting with the members so definitely all the educators of Saint Lucia can look forward to that,” she said.
Out of the six members who were elected to lead the SLTU, four are newcomers.
Here are the full results:

Position – President:
Vern Charles – 774
John Estephane – 472

1st Vice President
Troy Nestor – 734
Jesse Fontallio – 490

2nd Vice President
Kim Gaston – 836
Sherwin Alexander- 295

General Secretary
Vernetta John – 762
Ella Morris – 425

Deputy General Secretary
Sherene Saltibus – 677
Terrence Alcee – 530

Schaefer Sylvester – 604
Trifanelda Daway – 487
Misty Dawn Floyd – 118

Public Relations Officer
Marvelle Lubin-Modeste, unopposed, won by acclamation.

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