Spencer breaks silence on resignation

“I wish the Union well.”

Words from Sean Spencer, who recently resigned from his post as the president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) at the end of June, just over a month before the Union’s August elections.

In a move which shocked the entire country, Spencer, in a Facebook post on Wednesday while also thanking his “detractors”, outlined a “toxic” environment which he had to confront during his tenure.

He drew reference to the no-confidence motion brought against him in February of this year and remarked that he did not deem much of what transpired at that time to be respectful of the mandate secured by voting members nor was it complementary to the officers of the Union.

“I acknowledge that as an imperfect human being, I have made mistakes during my tenure. I can be extremely intense and while that may be casually misinterpreted as being dismissive or arrogant, it is no excuse for persecution. Being prepared is not a bad thing. Being assured in that knowledge is nothing to apologise for...

“Judging a book by its cover after having it in your library for five years does not make you an authority on that book, neither literally nor figuratively. Likewise, regularly sitting in meetings with someone for five years does not qualify your opinion(s) to be licensed as statements of fact.

“Speaking truth to issues, in measured tones, does not sell newspapers and make for sensational sound bites. Fighting for what teachers needed always framed my goals. Volubly and consistently making comments which are noticeably uninformed or under-informed, perceptibly devoid of substance or evidence of prior thought are not my hallmarks.”

Spencer said he was compelled to shed some light on the factors behind his resignation, explaining that it was not as a result of an isolated incident. He made it clear that he did not take his leadership of the Union lightly. “In the same vein, I did not take my resignation from that position of leadership lightly.

“During my tenure I sought to serve the Union with integrity, courting neither headlines, applause nor a pat on the back for any gains which the Union doggedly fought for and deservedly secured for its membership, the teaching fraternity and education system. I loved what I was doing. Until recently, I enjoyed it immensely and willingly sacrificed my time to advance the cause.”

He noted that by June 29 when he handed in his resignation, he could no longer function in circumstances where he would rather “tackle” the Ministry’s representatives, than be “constantly embroiled and entangled with divisive forces within the ranks of the Union”.

“The energy required to move forward in earnest would instead have been compelled, for example, to dispel propaganda and address lamentable falsehoods.

“Propaganda is a powerful tool and being in opposition is easier than it is to lead. Hopefully, the energies dedicated to propaganda and resistance efforts can now be aligned to the advancement of the Union in my absence.”

He said while some might see his resignation as a sign of weakness, a lack of fortitude or giving up, it is simply not continuing to allow what he deems to be “toxic elements” to contribute to him becoming whom or what he needed to become.

“Some have queried my decision to resign before the elections rather than after. To have gone through the motions of campaigning while feeling as I did, would have been an exercise in deceit directed toward myself and those who would have supported me during the run-in to the conference and during the elections,” he said.

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