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Last week Thursday April 20th, Trade Union Senator Elena Smith was elected by majority votes to serve as the next National President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union. The election was not without controversy as reports of political infiltration by UDP agents ran abound, forcing the Council of Management to call an impromptu meeting which lasted two hours. With the open deliberations, the convention was delayed by nearly four hours and while some were considering calling it off, the members voted to proceed. Following the convention, a number of groups offered their congratulations to the Senator for the victory. Surprisingly among them is Minister of Education, Hon. Patrick Faber, whose very own colleagues were seen on the convention floor, allegedly campaigning against Smith. But in politics, stranger things have occurred, and when Faber was asked whether to post was just a fake pat in the back, he claimed that not only does he and the Senator go way back, but also that he is glad the Luke Palacio era is coming to an end.


“Some people would say you are doing that as a decoy because the believe at the many BNTU convention was that the UDP and yourself, agents working directly under your behalf were putting for Mr. Mesh, Mario Mesh to be elected, would you comment on that?”

Screen_Shot_2017-04-24_at_7.56.31_PMHonourable Patrick Faber – Deputy Prime Minister / Minister of Education

“You are clearly going on speculation and I have to believe that you not only have my Facebook as your homepage as you put it but that you live on Facebook and you follow all of these things that people trump over the course of time on Facebook, listen it is no secret that the leadership of the BNTU under Luke Palacio was a very rocky time in terms of that relationship with me and also with the wider government I will not tell you that I am not happy that that has come to an end but I was genuine when I made the comment to congratulate the new president, I have known Mrs. Elena for a good many years in fact when I was serving as a part of the Belize District Branch of the BNTU some years ago when I was a teacher we served together so that I was genuinely offering my congratulation to her as the new president and I also was very genuine when I said that I look forward to the productive relationship continuing because despite what people put on Facebook and people speculate and people drag through the mud, the relationship between the BNTU and the ministry of education have always been a very productive relationship, there are other factors as you know, the national issues have clouded things but the relationship ministry to Union has never been nonproductive and I look forward to that productive relationship continuing under the leadership of Mrs. Elena.”

According to Faber, if the UDP really wanted to campaign against Smith, the results would have shown it.

Honourable Patrick Faber – Deputy Prime Minister / Minister of Education

“If indeed that kind of interference and speculation were to come we would have done much better than we did I would want to think,  you know that we are very successful in the bids that we make on the most part and so that is to tell you that even if there were element who did not, in the UDP who did not want to see a certain people elected that there was no well put together an action on the part of the UDP to ensure anything like that would happen.”

And while the Minister may be breathing a sigh of relief that Palacio will no longer be president, we remind him that the current President went unopposed for the position of First Vice President under the next term.

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