Last Friday the Belize National teachers Union elected its new executive. Leading the union now is Senator Elena Smith. Following the election, Minister of Education Patrick Faber sent out congratulatory remarks on social media to Smith. Faber today said his sentiments are genuine.
““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 Ms. 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 congratulations to her as the new president and I also was very genuine when I said that I look forward to the relationship continuing, the productive relationship continuing because despite what people put on Facebook and speculate and people drag through the mud, the relationship with the BNTU and the Ministry of Education has 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 non productive and I look forward to that productive relationship continuing under the leadership of Ms.Elena.”
During the Convention, the voting process was delayed while the executive met to vote if they would proceed because of what was perceived as political meddling. When asked, Faber says he nor his party interfered with the BNTU’s business.
“Contrary to what people are saying I was at home and in fact I knew nothing about what was going on in terms of that behind the door meeting that you talked about that delayed the convention I was no part of that so that I a question, I believe, that is better fitted for the union officials so they can tell you what was going on. To me they speculated, if indeed that kind of interference 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 for the most part and so that is to tell you that even if there were elements in the UDP who did not want to see certain people elected that there was no well put together action on the part of the UDP to ensure anything like that would happen.”