The Belize National Teacher’s Union is going back to its membership to provide updates on the ongoing discussions with Government. The BNTU has taken a strong stance in favor of good governance. The union made eight demands which the Government so far has been unable to fully satisfy and now, after a meeting held with Prime Minister Dean Barrow last week; the BNTU has decided to resort to further industrial action. It has also decided to get other unions involved and yesterday, at its headquarters in Belize City, the BNTU hosted several other unions in an effort to convince them to join the cause. In attendance were the leadership of the utilities union which includes, Belize Communications Workers Union, The Belize Water Services Workers Union, and the Belize Energy Workers Union. Also at the meeting were several social partners including the churches. BNTU National President, Luke Palacio, spoke of the meeting.
“There was a meeting last night not only the utilities, the BNTU invited several social partners to a meeting last night at our headquarters where the objective was to clarify what our response is to the Prime Minister so they were able to get first hand our side of the story and to ask them to lend support if they felt that that is in order. There were those who said , and I said it to them as well we are not expecting them to give us an answer overnight because they came to get information and in some instances they need to take it back to their membership in the case of the unions and other organizations and they said that that is what they would have needed to do, they were going to take back the information. We had the cane farmers association who said they would support the BNTU, we had of course COLA has come out from the beginning. We had the I Want My Country Back led by Pastor Wade so we had a good cross section of individuals who some were of course like everything else some would be more upfront and others would be more reserved but all in all we believe it was a very good meeting. They were satisfied that now they have the the other side of the story if you will and we trust that whatever they go to present to their people would have a positive outcome for us.
Ernesto Vasquez: Do you find that you are ending up carrying the torch for all of these other groups that are tagging on to you that that could skew your objectivity in this whole matter?
“Yes there is always that possibility but we remain focused. If we have to call in our council to a meeting every other day they are prepared to come because we listen to our constituents and if they are not satisfied or they have concerns about certain moves we are making we come together, sit down and discuss that matter and we chart another way in dealing with those things but at the end of the day we are saying to our country, look these are not good times, it can be better and we need to work towards making it better because this five second democracy that happens in our country, you walk into a polling station you are given a ballot paper, you vote and walk out and that is the end of democracy in this country needs to stop because the elected politicians from both sides of the political divide will say that they have been elected. They don’t govern, they rule, that is not governance and that is why we are pushing this agenda.”
The heads of the unions will now consult with their membership to determine whether or not they would join the Belize National Teacher’s Union on its “Stand Up for Belize Campaign”.