The Belize National Teachers Union has called for the removal of Senator Godwin Hulse as Minister and Senator. Today, Hulse had his chance to weigh in on what the BNTU has been saying as it relates to the planned demonstration; he says that the BNTU should give the process a chance.
“There was a joint negotiating team and we agreed to all the conditions. The government proposed to that team that it would like to move forward the 3% payment because of the Hurricane and the cost of the hurricane, that is not a fiction that is a fact. The APSSM and the PSU have agreed, the BNTU apparently has not agreed. I understand the Prime Minister will use his best efforts to meet with them to try to get them to agree but that is all I can say. I trust they would have agreed because it’s not as if they are going to lose it, it’s just that it is going to be paid a little later, that is all and I think that is a reasonable request coming from Government. I will not say the teachers because I don’t know that the union exec is speaking for all the teachers, I would have to see what is out there and I don’t even know if the teachers understand this in-depth. We are in Belize and in Belize things are not always logically explained, people get hyped over things that are said, the react emotionally but when people get a proper understanding, one thing about us Belizeans we become very sober and we understand and we back down so give the process a chance.”
Also commenting on the movements of the BNTU is former Cabinet Minister, Melvin Hulse. He noted that perhaps the current atmosphere is ripe for them to maximize on their agenda.
“I cannot be for or against the teachers. I’m not trying to say that in a way to try to the fact is that the BNTU has been the organization that has been fighting and has been the backbone of the teachers and a lot of good they have done for teachers. I would have not pushed it so close to school just opening but the teachers know that at the end of the day their strength lies in a uniformed organization. In this instance they figure that this is the opportune time to make an impact on the other demands they are making and one of the things I need to say, and that is why I can’t tell the teachers that they are doing wrong because maybe I might not have done it like that but what Luke said in respect to the teachers and I can tell you that is the teachers spend a lot of their own money buying a lot of those materials and all those learning aids and putting it up on the walls and they do. So they have to make their own judgment call. They have to. I don’t want to put the teachers in any spot one way or the other on that. Each one of us as an outsider and individual, boy guess what school just opened take it easy but they did not create the situation and the environment and all this highly publicized things. They did not create it and it happened to be arising at this moment and they figured that now is the time for them to maximize some of the things that they always wanted to do.”
The BNTU says it is calling for good governance with an aspect of that being the evident wastage in government spending. Minister Godwin Hulse spoke of a Government/Union committee that was set up to look at curbing wastage and to keep the government in check.
“You must remember when we started this process the union collectively talked about setting up a government union committee to look at how it can deal with waste and excess expenditure etc.; that committee was activated. That committee was put in motion and the committee worked. In fact at the last meeting they referenced the issue of government revenue that was short collected and there was an agreement that there will be move to step that up so you can’t cherry pick and be arbitrary, you continue to look at it as a whole. There is waste in government there is always waste in government spending but it is incumbent on all the people who work for government, the public officers and everybody to do that. I can tell you that every single night in the Ministry of Natural Resources I was I was the last person out and turned off all the lights, every night because that is a cost. But I go through Belmopan and I see lights, I see air conditioning, I see public vehicles running all over the place, you will never see me in a public vehicle, if you look over there you will see an old Mahindra I drive with a private plate. No government gas being run here there and everywhere so I recognize that but this is a collective effort from 12,000 public officers and we have to pool together in this endeavor.”
In its letter to the Prime Minister, the BNTU had presented seven demands, which they said via their press release, would cultivate good governance.