The United Democratic Party held its National Party Council meeting this past Saturday to discuss its party matters as well as issues of national importance. The impasse between the Government and the Belize National Teachers’ Union was discussed as Prime Minister’s explained the situation to his UDP Ministers. One of those ministers who formed part of the meeting was Wilfred Elrington. Elrington is known to say that he truly thinks and he has been widely bashed for it. On Saturday he commented on the BNTU’s industrial action. Elrington believes that it’s not the teachers place to take up national issues. He went further to say that he does not know if teachers have the wisdom, competence or ability to deal with these sorts of issues.
“I am not concerned overly about strikes and people will have legitimate issues. You will have unscrupulous people who are fraudulent and who will use the opportunity for political gain I understand that too so I’m not every concerned about things like that. As you and I know so well this country is so politically divided actually I get the impression from listening to the Union leaders that really and truly they seem to have formed the view that neither the UDP nor the PUP are in fact doing what they think should be done and that they are the savior’s of the country. Well that is not the role of a labor union, the labor union has an interest in looking after its constituents, the teachers in this case the teachers union should be look out for the teachers interest and those interests would include making sure that their salaries are paid and that kind of thing but it is not my understanding that they have the reemit really to take on all the issues of the country. I don’t even know whether they have the wisdom, ability or competence to deal with those issues. Here you have a minority grouping who seem to think that the majority in the country made a mistake by voting in the UDP government and therefore it is their mandate.”
“But they have said it isn’t about toppling the government but rather getting.”
“That is their agenda, clear as daylight you would have to be a fool not to know that, that is their agenda and the people who are lining up against them are all political hacks who are hoping to be able to replace the current government”
The Ministry of Education sent out a release today in an effort to set the record straight. The release says quote, “The Ministry categorically states that BNTU Proposal #22 was ventilated over many meetings and all parties agreed to bring the matter to a close in the meeting of the Joint Negotiating Team (JNT) of August 12, 2016.” End of quote. This is in response to a letter that Palacio had sent to Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb. In that letter, Palacio demands that BNTU’s Proposal number twenty two be fully and urgently addressed. To this the Ministry of Education responded by stating quote, “The record will show the letter of the BNTU to be a clear attempt to muddy the waters and to shift the goal posts notwithstanding what has transpired in the negotiations so far with respect to the BNTU Special Proposal #22.” End of quote.