And while there was a strong show of unity today, reports came into our newsroom saying that the students of the University of Belize were allegedly denied the right to attend the demonstration. At the initial reports, we spoke to the NTUCB President Marvin Mora who verified that he had gotten the reports.
Marvin Mora, President, National Trade Union Congress of Belize: “We’ve seen some texts come in from the Vice President of the Union, we’re not sure exactly if that is one hundred percent official but that is the word that we received and we are very much concerned because this is where the rule of law starts to break down. The Ministry of Education is headed by the Minister and if the Minister has already approved today as a non school day we don’t see why those students should even be attending classes today. So we will tell the principals at the University please for the love of God and country try to work around this problem with your student union because we really don’t want to see any confrontations but if it comes to that the NTUCB will have the back of the students.”
Love News spoke with the Chairman of UB, Harry Pilgrim, who clarified that the UB operates under its own Act and does not fall under the memo that the Ministry of Education sent out yesterday for a non-school day. A press release from UB followed a few hours later verifying that they had checked with the Board of Trustees on which the Chief Education Officer sits and it was confirmed that the non-school day was not applicable to UB. The release goes on to state, quote, “The Chief Executive Officer also emphasized at our Board Meeting of today, that the Memo was not addressed to the President of the University of Belize as it did not apply to us. In future, any memo emanating from the Ministry of Education that does not specifically mention the University of Belize and is not endorsed by the President of the University of Belize, then such a Memo can be of no effect. Further, at today’s meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize the approval of a “Non-University Day” must be given by the Board of Trustees, and that decision will be communicated to the Faculty, Staff and Students by the President of the UB.” End of quote.