Representatives of the Belize National Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Education were back in court this afternoon where Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down his decision to accept the application for an injunction made by the BNTU, which means that teachers are to be paid for the month of November.


Screen_Shot_2016-11-21_at_7.58.32_PMEamon Courtney- Attorney for BNTU


“The honorable Chief Justice handed down his decision a short while ago in which he granted the Belize National Teacher’s Union and Mrs. Guerra the injunction that we sought he found that we have an arguable case and that there is a rare likelihood that we succeed at trial and he felt that the balance of convenience was in favor of the teachers, that the teachers should not be denied the enjoyment of their Christmas because the government has taken the very mean and scrutinize decision to attempt to process the payment and then to come to court and say to court that they can’t pay it on time he just said that more people will be affected if  they don’t pay than the people who have to do the overtime to correct the situation so the teachers have to be paid and paid on time.”


Reporter


“Can you explain to us how he received these arguments on Friday?”


Eamon Courtney- Attorney for BNTU


“Well, we had a quite a long submission on Friday, longer than injunction like this ordinarily takes, we put forward four arguments in favor of the Union and Mrs. Guerra, the point is first of all, that the government is oblige to pay to the managing authorities and the managing authorities are oblige to pay to the teachers, the rules as it stands which the government is bound by, the government cannot in the middle of the year or at any month decide that they are not going to pay the managing authorities that is an arrangement that occurs on the basis of  a year and they disburse it monthly and they must do so and the rules specifically says that if the government wants to change it they have to give one year’s notice so there was no one year notice given, this arbitrary high handed action by the government intending to punish the teachers and so we came to court and said that the teachers are entitled to their pay, the government has a procedure if they want to suspend and it says the school must be close for fifteen days, the school were only closed for eleven days so yet again they attempted to act above the law and not comply with the rules and the Chief Justice said that those are clearly arguable things that has to go to trial and in the interim he was going to maintain the status quo and pay the teachers so that they can have their ham and turkey like everybody else for this Christmas.”


Immediately following the hearing, BNTU President, Luke Palacio spoke to the media where he indicated that the CJ made the just decision which will benefit thousands of teachers who would have been denied half their salary one month before Christmas if Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, had his way.


Luke Palacio – President of the Belize National Teachers Union


“The Minister of Education who is clamoring or wanting to become the Prime Minister of this country has decided that he is going to punish the teachers, that is the only thing that you can see out of his actions because everybody have said that what the BNTU did for this country nobody had done over this many years and we again are grateful to our Belizean brothers and sisters both at home and abroad who continue to support us and not because we’ve gain this victory today it means that we are going to try and become rambunctious and try to create any problem, we have said it from the beginning our strike was a peaceful strike, our demonstrations were peaceful, and all of our attempts to ensure that our country gets the best type of government and governance that this country deserves we will always take the peaceful manner in doing that .”


But while the CJ ruled in favor of BNTU, teachers may still not receive their full salary on November 25th, according to Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb.


Carol Babb- Chief Education Officer


“Now what we will have to do is to try to make this full salary available to teachers, I can’t say when…”


Reporter


“Is it not for the 25th then?”


Screen_Shot_2016-11-21_at_7.59.17_PMCarol Babb- Chief Education Officer


“Well, I don’t it will be ready for the 25th because we explained that this is a process that takes about two weeks but I am not in a position right now to say when the salaries will be ready, please understand that I am not the finance officer as we explained to you all before it is a process that takes time so I don’t know that it will be ready for the 25th but you can check back with us but I think is highly unlikely that it will be available.”


The case will be heard in full on December 16th.

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