Tonight, at least six women, who were employed as school security wardens, are out of a job after being dismissed by the Ministry of Education. Earlier today the women were called to the Ministry’s truancy unit in Belize City where they handed their dismissal letters. And, according to the women, the letter did not provide a reason for their dismissal and they are convinced that the move was politically motivated. However, Rafael Garcia, who is responsible for the national school security warden program, says that while the move was not politically motivated the ministry doesn’t owe any explanation to the women given the fact that they were employed as open vote workers.
Rafael Garica, In charge of National School Security Warden Program: “Well I think it’s important to note that the school security wardens insofar as their employee classification is concerned they are all open vote workers and so really at the end of the day the ministry really doesn’t have to offer any reason whatsoever as to why their services are no longer needed but I can assure you that them being terminated has nothing to do with their political affiliation whatsoever and lest we forget the former minister had carried out a mass termination of school gardens, scores of school gardens were terminated and at the time he had proudly declared that it was because they were not supporter of his party so it is important for us to put that on record. This is not the ministry engaging any mass terminations of school security wardens that is certainly not the case. What is important for us like I said is that we are able to recruit a cadre of school security wardens that will provide the critical service that schools require now in this era of the COVID pandemic.”
According to Sosa the Ministry of Education has undergone a comprehensive and thorough review of the school security warden program and unearthed several discrepancies.
Rafael Garica, In charge of National School Security Warden Program: “The ministry has undertaken a comprehensive and thorough review of the schools security warden program and in doing so – and we’re so early into that review – but I can tell you that what we have uncovered so far is nothing short of troubling, very disturbing. I can tell you that we have stumbled upon people who have been working in the capacity has school security wardens and have been totally absent from their workstations. As a case in point there is one warden who has not shown up to work since March 2020 and as we speak that warden is still being paid by the Ministry of Education, by the Government of Belize and by extension of course the taxpayers of this country. We have uncovered instances whereby persons are posted places that are not schools, that are not educational institutions but they are posted there or they have been posted there under the guise of being school security wardens. And so of course it’s going to take us some time to clean up this mess because it is an enormous mess.”
Sosa noted that several of the women who were terminated today have no personal record or file at the Ministry.