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Palacio Says Senate Inquiry is at the Centre of Their Concerns

According to the President of the Belize National Teacher’s Union, Luke Palacio, their Stand Up for Belize Campaign is for more than the three percent salary adjustment, it is for country. It is also about a Senate Inquiry into the findings of the Auditor General’s Special report on passport and immigration. In that report, several elected and appointed ministers were named. The BNTU is of the view that a Select Senate Committee should be the investigatory body to deal with the matter. The composition of the committee is still a point of contention. This particular point was also discussed in length during last week’s meeting between the BNTU’s Council of Management and Prime Minister Dean Barrow.


Their first demand was for a senate inquiry but they were not satisfied when government agreed to this, rather they started quarrelling on the composition of the senate select committee that government was supporting. In order to accommodate them even further I accepted that government would have two, rather than three senators on that committee, they had first said that this was okay but then insisted on coming back on the matter after we had moved on. They then rejected what we had already agreed and demanded instead that the opposition have equality with the government on that select committee notwithstanding that the senate standing orders provide otherwise. What I found astonishing at a negotiating was their refusal to hear any other view. Thus when I pointed out that two of the three social partners, namely the Chamber of Commerce and the Belize Council of Churches had agreed the composition government was relaying to the BNTU the BNTU leadership said this was of no account, their position was the only one that mattered and too bad if the majority of the social partners felt differently.”


What needs to be pointed out is that there are instances where the Prime Minister will say to anybody he is negotiating with or discussing with,  “I could change this tomorrow with the stroke of a pen.” and then when there are other pressing issues that he is totally against he says that it has to go to the legislature, that the modalities need to be worked out and whole ton load of whatever it is that he continues to say and we are again saying, we are not going to be held ransom by the Prime Minister dangling a carrot in front of us and we continue to suffer after we’d have taken that carrot we are not for that.”