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Even as the Belize National Teachers Union remains firm in their plan for industrial action, some may consider the announcement made by the Deputy Prime Minster last week, concerning the singing of a Statutory Instrument in order to replace teachers that are on strike continues to play an important role in GOB’s intimidation tactics against the teachers. During an interview today with National President of the BNTU, Luke Palacio, he dispelled such presumptions and reiterated BNTU’s plan to remain steadfast in their demands.

Screen_Shot_2016-10-03_at_7.57.04_PMLuke Palacio – President Belize National Teachers Union

“The SI would not less the effectiveness of the BNTU strike because we are resolved in what we are doing we need to start to understand and get this nation to get it clear that let us stop having a government that can decide when and how Belizeans will behave simply with the stroke of a pen; removing our freedom, removing our freedom of movement, our freedom of association challenging what has been enshrined in our constitution has become the modus operandi of this government and we as Belizeans need to put a stop to it.”

And much like the intimidation from GOB, Palacio believes that certain school managements are doing pretty much the same thing and according to him, the BNTU will not stand for it.

Luke Palacio – President Belize National Teachers Union

“There seemed to be and I don’t want to speak for the Catholic management, a letter came out from the Bishop’ office and that it lends support to the teachers, the general manger in her own wisdom I would want to say that that is not so but what that general manager needs to understand that the Catholic church owns the schools, in fact the official name for that is the Catholic Public Schools, it doesn’t say Sister Barbara Public School and so she needs to respect the church and we ask her to respect the church, am told that she has rescinded or at least has reconsidered from what she  has written if that is so we want her to again understand, this is not about any one individual, she wrote a letter to the Minister of Education which was copied to the Prime Minister, how far is she going to try and intimidate the teachers in the Catholic management we again have said to our teachers don’t be intimidated, don’t be afraid stand up for what you believe and if any teacher is terminated because she participated in these strike action that we are undertaking we are going to defend those teachers to the fullest.”

But like there are those who are against the BNTU, there are also several organizations expressing unwavering support for the union’s actions, including the Belize Chamber of Commerce, who issued a release last week offering support for the teachers.

Luke Palacio – President Belize National Teachers Union

“We welcome the Chambers’ support, we met with the and we were clear in giving them all the information that we had and they intern also raised some concerns and so yes we’ve agreed that we need to collaborate on a number of issues including the OSH Bill.”

One of the 8 demands proposed by the BNTU includes the implementation of a Senate Select inquiry into the immigration and nationality scandal. On Friday, during the special Senate meeting the senate voted on just that, but according to Luke Palacio GOB failed to meet their demand as the composition of the Senate Inquiry is not what they asked for.

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