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Oct 7, 2016

B.N.T.U. Executives Chastise Foreign Affairs Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, speaking to reporters over the weekend following a meeting of the United Democratic Party’s National Party Council, made statements on the then-coming industrial action organized by the B.N.T.U.  Among other things, he suggested that it was not the role of a labour union to involve itself in governance issues. Most rankling to the teachers is his claim that he, “does not know if they have the wisdom, the ability and the competence to tackle those issues.” Today, the teachers hit back, demanding an apology.

 

B.N.T.U. Executive Member

 “I think over the days we’ve seen the bashing of teachers; we have had to face some serious hurdles on the media, but the one that really, really ahs us taken aback is to have Minister Elrington attack us personally. It was shameful, it was a sad moment in history for Minister Elrington to go publicly and state that we lack the wisdom, the ability and the competence to tackle these issues. It was shameful, especially knowing that his sister and his wife were once teachers. It speaks volumes of his character. So today, on behalf of all the teachers in this country, we are demanding a public apology and we will not stop until we get that.”

 

Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“I cannot agree with anybody who would try to justify what Minister Elrington said. That is vintage Mister Elrington; every time he opens his mouth, the first thing he says Belizeans don’t understand. It seems he is the only man in this country that has understanding. It seems that the government persons, elected officials are the only persons who have understanding in this country. When the Minister of Education was on Open Your Eyes, he condemned what he minister said in one breath; but in the next breath, he was supporting him. I don’t think they are talking to a punch of people who don’t understand what they are about. We want to make it absolutely clear that we as teachers are intelligent individuals. We as teachers research before we present whatever it is that we present. And we have been well-trained, well-groomed and we are prepared to leave this country the same way or better than how we found it in terms of a better education for all our children.”

 

B.N.T.U. Executive Member

“Further in his statement, he also made mention that teachers should only be looking at salaries or in the interest of things that affect teachers directly. He is indirectly telling us that we lack the competence to look at anything else other than issues that affect us in the classroom. And we are intelligent people and internationally, we are respected and we are known for standing up for national issues. And now here comes our minister and insults us by telling us that we should be limited to issues in the classroom? So don’t come and try and twist his words around to me.”

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