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Oct 5, 2016

Papal Nuncio Visits, Weighs-in on Teachers’ Strike and Bishop’s Succession

On Tuesday, the B.N.T.U. sent a letter to Reverend Bishop Dorrick Wright expressing their support for him and in turn thanking the Reverend Bishop for his support of their strike action. In the letter, the B.N.T.U. also asked to meet with the Bishop to discuss allegations that there has been a request to remove him, which they noted has brought the Papal Nuncio, the Most Reverend Archbishop Leon Kalenga, to Belize. Well, the Papal Nuncio who is the Pope’s Ambassador to Central America, including Belize, traveled from his base in El Salvador to Belize City and met with Bishop Wright and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. In today’s meeting with the Prime Minister, the Papal Nuncio was accompanied by the auxiliary Bishop Christopher Glancy, while PM was interestingly accompanied by the former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. Deputy PM and Minister of Education Patrick Faber was notably absent from that meeting, although top of the agenda was the B.N.T.U. strike. But before he met with the PM, the Papal Nuncio granted an interview to the media. He said he thinks the teachers need to go back to the classrooms because the children should be put first. He also noted that the B.N.T.U. needs to go to the negotiating table. He was also asked about the allegations of the request for removal of Bishop Wright. Here’s how he explained it.

 

Leon Kalenga

Most Reverend Archbishop Léon Kalenga, Papal Nuncio

“Removal is not the word. Bishop Dorrick is still our Bishop. He is sick and the wisdom, human wisdom teach us to look after our sick, after our people, look after the children. The Vatican itself is now looking seriously to the matter to see how to arrange a succession and after Dorrick we can come in and take his place. And we are working on that.”

 

Reporter

“So, it has to do with his illness and not necessarily by a request from Government or any other institution?”

 

Most Reverend Archbishop Léon Kalenga

“No, no. It has to do with illness. Because as you know Catholic Bishop has to ascend down at seventy-five, but he is seventy-one. Then it has to do with his conditions now. It is also charitable that when a Bishop is sick, we have to look seriously at his sickness. All this time we have been looking after and we give priority to the health condition of the Bishop. That is why an auxiliary Bishop has been appointed to help the Bishop and together to run the diocese. That is the Catholic Church.”

 

Reporter

“But it has been pointed out that while he may be unable to walk and unable to see, he is still lucid. So, he is still able to do his job?”

 

Most Reverend Archbishop Léon Kalenga

“Yes, that is true. As quick as I can come down I went in to see him and after I see the Prime Minister I will go to see him again. He is very lucid.”

 

Reporter

“And it has been said that you are not in agreement with the strike of the B.N.T.U.  Are you able to clarify. Can that position change?”

 

Most Reverend Archbishop Léon Kalenga

“Well, that is a good question. Look, I have always a problem myself and the position. I have to look after the children- that is the future. Where is the place of the students? That is the school where I want my kids – the boys and girls at school.  I prefer the big people to deal with that, to Negotiate. To past their time in talking because teachers are good in talking and teaching. They have to go – I prefer the opposition party to go to the Government to make up their minds, the civil society to go there. I don’t want the children to enter in these problems. I want to see all the Catholic school children at school.”

 

A released issued by the Government Press Office on the Papal Nuncio’s meeting with the PM states, “Prime Minister Barrow welcomed the Archbishop’s, and therefore the Catholic Church’s, position, and repeated Government’s own call for the B.N.T.U. to suspend its strike and resume the discussions with G.O.B. on the three percent salary adjustment and the good governance agenda.”

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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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3 Responses for “Papal Nuncio Visits, Weighs-in on Teachers’ Strike and Bishop’s Succession”

  1. carlos says:

    I think there is a cover up going in. I will go as far to suggest that the catholic school manager has a lot to do in this and in conjunction with the P M. The nuncio suppose to understand the issues before he give his opinion. Because of their wrong comments they have cause problems and even civil wars in other countries.

  2. Belizean Pride says:

    Mr. Leon I call onto you, you say kids must be in school, yes it affects the kids bu what would you prefer teaching the kids to stand up for a right that will affect their future and the present with so much corruption? Come on you can be the papals send sheep but this is Belize where we know what is going on. So please stop this nonsense of saying kids belong to school we all know that. Secondly we parents support the big effort this teachers are doing, so if they close school we stand up along with the teachers. Even the pope can come who care we are the ones suffering under this gov. so you can come as you wish but don’t put your spoon in our plates o.k. I suggest you fl back to where you came from leave us to deal with our national problems as Belizeans.

  3. CEO says:

    He (Papal whoever) only now just arrived and he already knows what’s best for Belize? Really?

    So I guess the teachers should just keep teaching regardless if they are being heard or not because the children….I say if the politicians cared enough about the children then teachers would be better compensated and there would need to be no strike Mr Papal Nuncio.

    Please just back up and shut up noh!

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