Bishop Clyde Harvey of St George’s-in-Grenada has said that he feels “sad” that Grenada is “in this state” considering the continued industrial dispute between the government and teachers over gratuity payments due to them since 2013.
Online news source thenewtodaygrenada.com reported August 9, 2019 that teachers and public officers are currently at loggerheads with the Keith Mitchell-led administration on its unwillingness to pay them the 25 per cent gratuity and pension payments which, they are arguing, are provided for them in the Grenada Constitution.
As such the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) has called for teachers to stay away from work.
Bishop Harvey, commenting on this during this year’s first weekly live YouTube broadcast of ‘Conversations with Bishop Clyde Harvey’ on Good News Catholic Radio (99.5FM) January 9, said that the country ought to understand the price they will pay if teachers are not happy in their profession.
“It’s one thing to say you have to do this for the children but it is an obligation that all of us have as Church, government, parents, to do the best we can to ensure that teaching is honoured in Grenada and those who are teaching feel respected and honoured.”
He told host Ruthina Victor that the fabric of Grenadian society will begin to “crumble” because it is in the schools that “good citizens or criminals” are shaped.
Vision for Catholic education
Bishop Harvey observed a “tension” in society which speaks to a search for power. He however warned that when it comes to the future of the nation, that attitude is “rubbish”.
“I make no apology for calling it that. It is poisonous and we have to rise above those temptations. When you’re doing things which are egotistical, all about ‘I must show you’ and ‘We must show them’, that’s poisoning a society…” he said.
Bishop Harvey further reminded citizens that a little bit of poison in a big ocean may dissipate by the volume of water but a drop of poison in a small glass can wreak havoc. “We are a small society, let us not put even small drops of poison among us,” he said.
Bishop Harvey shared with Victor that St Rose Modern Secondary School in Gouyave is in “transition”. He explained that he will preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving for the former principal and the welcome of the new principal, Sr Delia Montrose SSM.
He said that in doing that, he’s very conscious of the fact that the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM) now join the Presentation brothers and Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny in “having a vision for their schools, a vision of Catholic education.”
Bishop Harvey said the SSM’s vision of Catholic education is rooted in an appreciation of the earth, our common home.
“They are doing more than any other secondary school to help the young people realise this earth is what we need to care for and the challenges that we face here in Grenada.”
He commented that there exists a failure of Grenadians to appreciate the importance of agriculture towards tourism.
“You cannot have a tourist industry that succeeds for the country if everything is brought in and imported, unless you have a tourist industry that is linked to a thriving agricultural sector and to an economy which involves everybody…so we have to have schools that are able to bring this broader vision,” he said.
Bishop Harvey hoped that schools will become committed to Laudato Si’ and that each school will create a generation of young people concerned about the environment in Grenada, and who will promote agriculture as a career, protect the mangroves mangroves, swamps and the sea.
“…we have a problem…we have to see our education system is rooted in it. So, in the beginnings of this new administration in St Rose Modern Sec[ondary], I hear a clarion call from the Lord to look again at what we’re doing in education.”
Ultimately, Bishop Harvey believed that once each Catholic school has a “clear vision” of the kind of student it wants to produce, then the product will be more people who will be the best citizens Grenada will want “and coming from them, we have the priests and sisters to lead the destiny of the Church”.