Prime Minister John Briceno and the teachers are at odds. It wasn’t always like this because when the PUP was in opposition, Briceno and the PUP joined the teachers against corruption and against a UDP government. But now the tables have turned and Briceno and his government are feeling the pressure of not only from the BNTU, but also from the Public Service Union and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. We asked BNTU National President Elena Smith what she thinks about that comparison.
Senator Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “If the government now in power had done their job as opposition we would not be where we are and this goes for both governments because our people in opposition only speak when it’s going to help them but if it’s for them to put things in place that they know will come back to bit them they won’t stand up so we will stand up for that because at the end of the day it’s our people who are going to be suffering for the things that our leaders do.
Reporter: Do you believe that PM Briceno and his government have done a 180 turn marching with you guys and now you guys are marching against them ?
Senator Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “Well listen again we have to understand that any party in opposition will always use the work of the unions or the activities of the union for their benefit. We don’t invite them to our events but they come and they join our events. We saw in 2005 with Mr.Faber he was with us, he got in government and what happened? You saw that. We saw where Mr.Briceno when he was in opposition walked along with the teachers when we were protesting in 2016 they are in the government now what are they doing ? So these things happen, that will not deter us from our goal, from our vision, from what it is that we must do. Oppositions will use every chance that they can get to boost themselves and when they get in government they forget where they come from. We are the ones to remind them of where they came from and what they have promised to us.”