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Sep 20, 2016

Junior Minister Has No Qualms with B.N.T.U. Belmopan Demonstration

On Monday, thousands of teachers demonstrated in Belmopan in their Stand Up For Belize Campaign. Among the many national issues ventilated was the Auditor General’s report on the Immigration Department and the bullying by Guatemala in the Sarstoon. But the rally was also triggered by G.O.B.’s proposed deferral of the final salary adjustment of three percent to teachers and public officers. The Belize National Teachers’ Union turned down that proposal and protested on Independence Hill. Today, we asked Minister of State for Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Elodio Aragon Junior for his take on the demonstration.

 

Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., Minister of State, Education, Youth, Sports & Culture

“I always believe that we live in a free country, we live in a democratic country and everybody has a right to demonstrate or to voice their opinion. And I think yesterday the teachers from B.N.T.U.—because I think there are three unions and there is only B.N.T.U. that’s asking for the commitment from government in terms of the raise to come about instead of it being differed. And I think they have a right to voice their opinion. Now the question is; is it right what they are doing or not? And I think it is all dependent on you as a person, how you see it. I as minister of government, I think that of course I’d like them to consider the deferment, like the other unions, but everybody has their own opinions. At the end of the day, I think that the government is trying to look at how we can in terms of ensuring that we don’t raise taxes, etc. to the best of our abilities. And I think that some of these things have to do with the deferment of payment, etc.  All I think is that we live in a free country and everybody has a right to that. I have no grudge against any of the teachers that went out there. I think that is their democratic right and everybody know in a nation like Belize, no two persons will think alike. All I believe is that it has to be done in the confines of the law and in terms of being…you are expressing yourself in a democratic and peaceful manner.”

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