There is a pending meeting between the Education Minister, Patrick Faber and the Belize National Teachers Union for Friday, October 28 in Belize City. We say pending, since there has been some back and forth between the two parties as to who will be in attendance. Minister Faber explained the situation.
“That meeting I had asked for last week Friday and Mr.Palacio wrote back to say that he wouldn’t be available since it was short notice. Over the weekend he wrote to me and suggested Monday at 2pm but of course you will remember that that was the day that we had senior counsel Michael Youngs’ Funeral so I asked if there was another time that we could get together. His response was to ask for the meeting on Friday and so we are now set for that meeting on Friday I suppose. I say I suppose because Mr.Palacio indicated that he wanted to bring the entire 25 members of the council of management and I don’t think that that is best for discussions, it’s not best for efficiency and productivity and so I appealed to him to let us have five on both sides, we meet at my office on Friday and we try to see what can be worked out.”
Minister Faber says as he prepares for the meeting, the key factor in the entire discussion will be the children.
“As the Minister of Education I have to look at all sides and really people who are in support of the teachers being paid just say we’ll pay the teachers and get it over with but the truth is that paying the teachers will not satisfy everybody, there are many people who didn’t go to work, there are parents who were terribly inconvenienced and they want to see things go the other way so anything that you do in this situation will bring some level of problems and so we are hoping that when we sit down on Friday with the BNTU we are able to come to some common ground where yes the union takes some responsibility for what happened and takes on the responsibility as well at least partially to pay those teachers and then the government looks at the situation and tries to do its part. I think while there are many stakeholders who are affected the parents, the school managements, the children none of those stakeholders should be considered above the children and that is really the focus of our ministry and this minister. That is how I am going to go into those meetings on Friday with a mind to try to alleviate the situation, ameliorate the situation and then look out for the best interest of the students that means that we will have a discussion on possibly making up the time as well and that is why for us it is very important for the government to play a part. Those who say not to put in anything if we go that route then it will be difficult to then ask teachers to do the make up time. Then if it is that make up time is required what will happen to those teachers who went to school ? Will they be required to do make up time as well without compensation so there is a lot of finer details that we need to discuss and I’m looking forward to the meeting on Friday with the BNTU to get those matters resolved.”
Love News will keep following the developments on this matter which will determine whether the teachers will be paid for the time they spent out of the classrooms on strike.