The Belize National Teacher’s Union made it official today – they WILL be holding a demonstration in the city of Belmopan on Monday September 19th – just two days before the 35th anniversary of Independence celebrations.
The BNTU and the Barrow Administration have been at loggerheads over the payment of a 3% salary increase to their members. The third payment was due July, but Government missed that due date and in August, they sent signals that they won’t be able to pay it when the Prime Minister proposed to push it back until next year.
But Monday’s demonstration has nothing to do with Government’s proposed delay for that salary adjustment and the Union’s demand for the payment to be made. Today the President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union Luke Palacio came to town to address the members and discuss their new campaign for an end to corruption and reform and why it may just take the efforts of the teachers to clean up things. Palacio then held a press briefing and told us more.
Luke Palacio, BNTU National President
“Let me again clarify that the actions, the BNTU has engaged his members in, and we are asking for their support has nothing to do with our saying to the Prime Minister in a letter that we had sent to him that BNTU has said no to his request for the deferral of the salary adjustment. The unions are there to deal with matters that affect its members, the Unions’ constitutions allows us as the Union to take action and to speak on national importance of our territorial integrity, all of those things are outlined in our constitution, the teachers of this country as leaders has decided that the myriad of national issues that are affecting this country needs to be addressed, we have written to the Prime Minister in that regard and he has given us an undertaking that he wants to meet with our council of management but we as a council democratic organization that we are have decided that we are going to have our national demonstration in Belmopan on Monday to let it be known that the BNTU and its members are not sitting by idly and allowing all of these things that are affecting our country in a negative way nationally and internationally that they cannot go unchallenged, that they cannot go unaddressed and that the intention is that we are fighting for a better nation.”
Otilio Munoz, President, OW Branch
“We had a consensus of the council of management that we must be doing something stronger to send the message to our Prime Minister and the government and we decided to do a demonstration on Monday in Belmopan city so we are asking our members and that was brought out from our members today in the general meeting and they were ready to go as from tomorrow so they are militant and I even said that to them because they said that they are ready and I brought the question if they are going to go to classroom on Monday and right away they said no they are not going so I asked for their support and who will be participating in this demonstration on Monday and I asked for them to raise their hand and all of them are in the same situation. It is not only the salary adjustment that have the teachers really mad at what is going on in our country but national issues as well and you know it and they know it because the media is constantly updating the populace that this is what is happening in our country and one of the biggest one of great concern is our identity as Belizeans, you are prostituting our identity because people no longer believe in the identity of Belizeans anymore and it is so sad that our country have reached to this point, we have a lot of our teachers who travel abroad not easy now because even the United States is looking at Belize passport as we have to really scrutinize you and see if you really are a Belizean so it is of great concern.”
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