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Nov 21, 2016

Leader of the Opposition Issued Intervention in B.N.T.U. Struggle

Before the decision was handed down, Leader of the People’s United Party, John Briceño wrote to Prime Minister Dean Barrow asking him to reconsider the Government’s position on deducting from salaries of teachers. According to Briceño, the letter is a result of last week’s meeting with the Union’s executives, held before they filed for an injunction in the Supreme Court to stop the deductions. More than one thousand five hundred teachers, as estimated by the B.N.T.U., are being affected. Briceño’s letter calls it an “unfair,” “callous and cold-hearted” move coming just weeks before Christmas and, as teachers believe, an attempt to punish them for so boldly challenging the Government on matters of national importance. Briceño writes, “The strength of our democracy is that it invites everyone to participate fully in the social and political life of the nation. We ought not to seek to punish those who exercise their right to protest, but celebrate their confidence in our system of governance if they feel it is for the common good. To challenge the behaviour of our government and its policies is to reflect our values and our understanding of the common good. If Belizeans are to act as free citizens and our civil institutions are to be treated as partners in governance then the actions by the Belize Teachers Union should not result in punitive action but should be recognized with respect and gratitude.”

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