On the heels of the Belize National Teachers Union Protest in the Capital, the marching fever has taken a stronghold at the Mount Carmel Primary School further west, in Benque. 937 students are out of classes today as their 41 teachers and principal are aiming their anger at the Teachers Service Commission for decisions that have disenchanted some instructors at the school. Love News traveled west and spoke to the teachers about the issues with the commission.
Jose Sanchez: “Mount Carmel Primary School teachers in Benque are protesting and they are mad with the Teaching Service Commission. The principal Melvin Manzanero says that they are mad regarding the retirement of one teacher and the non payment for replacement teachers.
Melvin Manzanero: “From the Teaching Service Commission stating that we have a teacher that we have a teacher in our school that is not approved as replacement in our school so at this point we are receiving a letter. I mean we are already in the middle of November so what will happen with the teachers for September, October and Mid-November’s Salary.”
Anna Doris Pech Teacher: “Yes I thank my staff, my administration and my colleagues. I feel very disappointed on the issue that is going on with my case and not only my case but my other colleagues too.”
Jose Sanchez: “She had filed for retirement but then she sent a letter stating that she wishes to continue hence the reason that she applied for her permit and she was granted it. “
Jose Sanchez: There is also the issue of replacement of the three teachers who went on long leave, they also have not been paid.”
Melvin Manzanero: “That these teachers were not approved to be replacing these teachers that went on long leave however we see it unjust because the issue is that we usually get the information after the teacher has completed their time and the two years are finished with the long leave period so then these three teachers that are currently with us have not received any payments for those three months that they did April, May and June.
Jovannie Chooch: I feel very united with my colleagues that we are working very hard for me so that I can get my pay and I feel very happy though and at the same time I feel very affected because they haven’t paid me for six months. I need things for my college, I am still studying, things for my class and my students as well so it’s very disappointing.
Roberto Valencia: A teacher was going too for a long leave so I stared replacing her for the months of April, May and June. After I was interviewed and I was given this post for April, May and June they told me well I was qualified and I went into the classroom and I taught for those three months just to know at the ending of June that I will not get paid by the Teaching Service Commission. I think it’s more about their time management, they’re not controlling their time management that proper.
Melvin Manzanero: “The other sister schools from the Roman Catholic Management, we are total of four schools. They know about the issue, it’s only that they need to make the necessary arrangement with their parents in order for them to show up along with us here.
Jose Sanchez: For now the doors of the Mount Carmel remain closed. Jose Sanchez for Love News.
The school expects to receive approval for a permit to protest within the next 24 hours.