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Apr 25, 2017

No Conflict of Interest for New B.N.T.U. Prez, Senator Elena Smith

Elena Smith

Still on the Senate… President-elect Elena Smith is also a parliamentarian who sits on the Senate Special Select Committee. She assumes the reins of the Belize National Teachers Union on July first.  She is set to succeed three-term B.N.T.U. President Luke Palacio and is herself a firebrand unionist.  So, will her dual position present a conflict of interest for either the senate or the teachers union?  That’s what we asked Palacio earlier today, who cited other past senators who also headed their respective labor organizations.

 

Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, President, Belize National Teachers Union

“There is no conflict there.  Remember that Senator Smith does not represent B.N.T.U. per se as a senator.  She represents the National Trade Union Congress and at the time it was known as the civil society organizations.  Of course, now that they have the thirteenth senator then there is going to be, I imagine, this slight change in the nomenclature, whether it’s going to be the N.G.O. or it’s going to be civil society.  So she does not represent the B.N.T.U. per se, as senator, but, in the past, we’ve had senators who were also presidents of their unions.  Case in point, we had Mr. Rene Gomez, I think he was president of the Belize Workers Union out of Orange Walk and we had Brother Paul Perriott who was president of the Communications Workers Union.  So it’s not anything strange or new that a president of a union is serving as a senator.”

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