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Gwen Liz teachers waiting on Education Minister’s response

Majority of the teachers of Gwen Lizarraga High School in Belize City are awaiting a response from Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, with respect to the nomination of former UDP city councilor Alifa Elrington to the school board. As we reported last month, more than twenty teachers staged a ‘sit out’ after they learned that the acting principal would be reappointing Elrington to the board as the Community Representative. The teachers believe that the principal did not follow the proper procedure in selecting Elrington who had to step down from the post after she was not re-elected to the Belize City Council on March 7. National President of the BNTU, Senator Smith, gave us an update.

Elena Smith, BNTU President: “Well the teachers yes they voice their concern and they stated exactly why they did not want her to be on the board: one she no longer represents the City Council, two the community rep the staff should have a say in who that person is and based on what they have done in the past the community rep has always come from the community and so you are familiar with community, you have vested interest in the community and so when you sit on that board you will make decisions based on your community and so teachers feel as though she does not fit any of those. Not only that they had other reasons why they felt that she should not be there because of her approach with the teachers, the way she handled her position on the board because we have to understand that there is a clear distinction between the role of the board and the role of administration of the school and sometimes some board chair would feel as though because they are the chairman of the board that they control and determine the day to day activities of the school and that is not so. So there were a lot of little issues going on but I believe that the teaches felt that the Minister when the Minster met with them he listened to their concerns and he shared you know why he thinks she should be there, they shared why she should not be there and he promised that he would think about their concerns and get back to them so they are giving him a chance to get back to them with a decision and so we realize that they were out for a day and they made the decision that they would return to the classroom because their students would be going into their exam and so they decided that they would cut their action short and attend to their students; give the minster some time to review what they had mentioned to him and then wait for him to respond or after he responds or after a decision is made then they will determine what future course of action they will take and so we have said to them whatever actions they will be taking we will be supporting them.”

Faber supports Elrington’s re-appointment, saying that since she was dealing another matter involving Dr. Lorna Mckay, she should be kept on the board.