Minister Elrington Says Teachers Should Be Respected; Not Sure About Payment
There can be no dispute that teachers have a thankless job, and under most circumstances, the work that they do is appreciated and lauded. That is perhaps why it rankled some that the Belize National Teachers’ Union was able to get the majority of its members out in October for a strike which they framed as voicing discontent on the course of the country on certain national issues. Not all supported the strike and there were some schools that stayed open for at least part if not all of the eleven days the strike continued, even though students stayed away. As you heard earlier, Minister Faber proposes to honor their service with a million-dollar bonus to come in handy for the Easter. While Minister Elrington was not apprised of the specific details, he reiterated what he told us at the height of the strike: he respects those who chose who went to school despite pressure to strike.
“As you said, you respect those who went to school, I don’t think anybody doesn’t – the question is should they be paid for it? That is the question. Should they get something in recompense for that?”
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“I’ve not heard all the arguments and rationale with respect to it; what I will do though, I promise you that I am going to try to find, get some more information into it and then I will be in a better position to give you an opinion on it; I don’t want to speak off the top of my head without knowing the details. I always find it difficult to be critical of people who are getting assistance. It’s not that we are wealthy people, and some of the teachers really go beyond the call of duty. For them to have gone to work in the face of a strike by their colleagues, and for them to have sought to look to the interest of the children, to my mind that is most commendable.”