As you heard, the Ministry of Education has to wait until the case is fully heard for salaries to be deducted, that is if the ruling is in their favor. While that will be one case that the nation will be monitoring, the Leader of the Opposition, Honorable John Briceno has written to the Prime Minister asking for his intervention in the matter.
In the letter dated 21st November 2016, Briceno is asking the Prime Minister to reconsider government’s position on the deduction of salaries of teachers who participated in the recent BNTU strike action. Briceno sates and we quote “We find it very inconsiderate and disturbing that any Government would even consider withholding the salaries of our hard working teachers, more so the month before Christmas. Many Belizeans have expressed that executing such actions would not only reflect a Government that is unfair, but certainly callogous and coldhearted.”
In the letter Briceno reminds the Prime Minister that the strength of our democracy is that it invites everyone to participate fully in the social and political life of the Nation. The Leader of the Opposition is quoted as saying “We ought not to seek to punish those who exercise their right to protest, but celebrate their confidence in our system of governance if they feel it is for the common good. To challenge the behavior of our government and its policies is to reflect our values and our understanding of the common good. If Belizeans are to act as free citizens and our civil institutions are to be treated as partners in governance then the actions by the Belize Teachers Union should not result in punitive action but should be recognized with respect and gratitude.”
The letter further states and we quote “As a leader who has always proclaimed the right for civil disobedience, it is our expectation that you as the head of Government will find it judicious to reconsider the decision to withhold the teacher’s salary. It is our understanding that the majority of Belizeans expect that the teachers will be paid their entire salary for the month of November.” End quote. It is yet to be seen if the Prime Minister will respond to the letter.