The Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) needs more time to review and analyze the Equal Opportunities Bill. In a release issued today, the union is telling the government to slow down. The various agencies involved in drafting the EOB are facing opposition from various sectors including some churches that believe the Bill caters primarily to the LGBTQ community. While the BNTU is not saying that they are opposing the Bill, they are saying that they need more time to make a sound decision and to consult their membership. The union has also expressed concern at the fast pace in which the Bill is being pushed. President of the BNTU, Elena Smith, says there are other Bills that need more attention than the EOB.
Elena Smith, President, Belize National Teachers Union: “We are calling for a slowdown of the way in which they are addressing the matter of that bill because we know that it’s been going very quickly and persons don’t really have a chance for them to properly digest what the bill is, understand it, and make meaningful contribution. So we are requesting that that will be slowed down. We know that we have other bills that we have been pushing before for example the OSH and we see how slowly that is going but here comes this bill and we’re racing through as if though if we don’t get it done by a certain time we are all gonna die. So we’re asking for that process to slow down so that persons can have the time to really look at it. As BNTU we are hoping to host a forum where our teachers can come in, we’re going to be having panelists to present both sides to them so that our teachers can then get a better understanding of the bill and its implications and that we can make a decision as a union as to whether we support it or not.”
Countrywide consultations concluded last month on the Equal Opportunities Bill (EOB) but even so, the naysayers have been much louder than those in agreement. Aside from the BNTU, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) reiterated the BNTU’s position saying they need more time.