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Oct 5, 2016

Cayo’s Student Teachers Join B.N.T.U. Protests

On Monday, we showed you the students of Muffles Junior College protesting in solidarity with their teachers. It was a rather interesting dynamic, as many have criticized teachers about abandoning classes and interrupting their students’ education to participate in the strike.  We found a similar scene today in San Ignacio when News Five Andrea Polanco traveled west today.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

A handful of students from Sacred Heart Junior College gathered in downtown San Ignacio in solidarity with the teachers. The messages they were sharing on their posters and signs are those around the eight points. One handwritten placard reads, “We want a thirteenth senator”.  The students, some who are also teachers, say that the issues are worth sacrificing their salaries.

 

Marielli Panti Torres

Marielli Panti Torres, Teacher & Student

“Some of us are Primary Ed students and we know that what the teachers are fighting for is going to benefit everyone and even us. The other students who are in Primary Ed and aren’t a teach as yet or haven’t been in the classroom, it is going to benefit them.   When they graduate, when they get their degree, sometimes they are seeking for a job and they cannot get a job if they don’t have a signature or recommendation from the Minister. So if corruption continues and we let it continue, this is still going to be happening. Students who are out there with their degree and they have graduated already and don’t have a job because they cannot obtain a letter from the Minister.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Alright. So, we know that the strike is going on today, tomorrow. Are you prepared to go the distance with the B.N.T.U.?”

 

Marielli Panti Torres

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, you won’t be getting paid for these days that you are not showing up to the classroom. Do you think it is a sacrifice that is worth it?”

 

Marielli Panti Torres

“Yes. We really do think that it is a sacrifice that is going to be worth it.”

 

President of the B.N.T.U. San Ignacio Branch, Manuel Medina, says that he is satisfied with the actions of his membership. He believes that the strike is putting the pressure where it’s needed and it’s being felt. But it’s now day three – and that means three days without pay- so are teachers feeling the pinch and are they now ready to go back to the classrooms?

 

Manuel Medina

Manuel Medina, President, B.N.T.U. San Ignacio Branch

“Not really. In fact, we are getting more people out. Like the sixth form, on the first day they were not out with us but they are now out with us .So we are getting more teachers out with us.  It is obvious that something is happening. Of course he will not come to us and say that this is a result of the union standing up. But I believe it is as a result of us standing up that he is giving in. That is one of the issues that we had been asking for but we wanted specific time for when he is going to do it and if you notice two to three months is still a long way. Because anything could happen between now and then if we go back to the classroom, God knows, something else might happen.  Our members are determined. From the meetings we have been having since Monday, in fact they are the ones who are giving us the leaders the mandate. They say they don’t want to go one day or two days because it is not going to be effective, so they are willing to go as long as it takes to make our demands known.”

 

In San Ignacio several schools were closed or only a small number of students and teachers showed up for classes like at the Sacred Heart Primary and High School and Faith Nazarene where there more closed classrooms than open ones. B.N.T.U. San Ignacio Branch says closed doors means a successful strike and the action continues with a rally tomorrow.

 

Noemi Pinelo

Noemi Pinelo, Secretary, B.N.T.U. San Igancio Branch

“Our branch includes town schools, as well as village schools which includes the Spanish Look-out area; that is San Ignacio Branch. Out of thirty two schools, we can say that at least 90 percent are closed. The only ones that have a door open are some Government schools and the SDAs. But apart from that we have hundred percent support with schools being closed and parents supporting us by not sending their child or children to school.”

 

Jorge Mejia, B.N.T.U. Treasurer & Trustee of San Ignacio Branch

“We are having a motorcade starting from Loma Luz Roundabout at nine. We will move at nine-thirty and from there we will move to this area, Burns and go through to Andrews and we will assemble at Octavia Waight. So at nine-thirty we want to start our rally and we will have invited guests who will be speaking with the teachers and from there we will give an update on what will happen next.”

 

Jorge Mejia

Andrea Polanco

“How many teachers are you expecting tomorrow? The full membership?”

 

Jorge Mejia

“Yes, the full membership. The whole branch which is about three hundred teachers we have as members and definitely non-members and the even the community at large. So we are preparing to have at least more than sixty vehicles in the motorcade and we want to give thanks to Mesh Bus service because they are giving free bus to bring teachers from the villages like San Antonio and Cristo Rey.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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