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Sep 28, 2016

B.N.T.U. President Says Union Will Challenge New Law in Court

This evening we reached president of the Belize National Teachers’ Union, Luke Palacio, in Benque Viejo where the Union’s branch there was having its annual general meeting. Firstly, while he is awaiting confirmation of the plans to sign the Statutory Instrument, Palacio told us that if the Ministry goes through with its plans they will be challenged. He also indicated that he may not be attending the scheduled consultation with the National Council on Education on Friday due to his Union duties.


On the Phone: Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“The bottom-line, if he decides that he is going to pass a statutory instrument enacting that he can employ persons to temporarily replace teachers who will be on strike, then we are prepared to deal with that because there are rules governing how teachers are employed in this country and the Ministry of Education can’t come and usurp that process. So that our union is prepared to challenge.”



“And that will come when the council meets on Friday?”


On the Phone: Luke Palacio

“Well I don’t know…”



“He said he’s invited you officially in your capacity as a member of those boards to be at the consultations on Friday.”


On the Phone: Luke Palacio

“Yeah, but nothing says that I must be there. The union has a plan. As a matter of fact, these annual general meeting submissions were made to the Chief Education Officer in early September, stating that we have annual general meeting throughout this country at this time and I will not be in the city early enough for that meeting on Friday that he has indeed invited members of the National Council for Education.”



“But as you said, the union will be prepared to challenge that once it becomes law?”


On the Phone: Luke Palacio

“Once it becomes law, yes. We will challenge it; challenge any impropriety, anything that contravenes what is stated in the Education and Trade Act as to how persons are employed as teachers in this country.”


The B.N.T.U. will be travelling to Punta Gorda on Thursday for the annual general meeting there. In related news, the Belize Branch of the Union met today in Belize City in an emergency meeting to discuss the national issues raised by the parent union; its annual general meeting will come up later.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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