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Nov 22, 2018

Mount Carmel Teachers to Demonstrate in Benque

Students were absent from the classroom at the Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Primary School in Benque Viejo del Carmen as teachers continue on a sit-out at the institution. The teachers have also been granted a permit to take their demonstration to the streets of that western municipality to express their discontent about several issues, including the removal of a teacher from the classroom and unpaid salaries to substitute teachers. Today, we found out that the Belize National Teachers Union has since reached out to the Ministry of Education to intervene. National President, Senator Elena Smith, told the media today that these issues that have been happening at institutions across the country.


Elena Smith

Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“We have received from the management in Benque the concerns that they have regarding those teachers that they are out demonstrating on their behalf. We have sent those to Doctor Carol Babb so that she could look at the concerns that were raised and she could address them. So she has promised us that she will be looking into them. As a matter of fact, she spoke to Deacon Cal and she said that the ministry will be looking into the matter and trying to get it resolved. So from our end, we are working with the ministry to see how best we can resolve the matters. These are issues that our teachers complain about very often and it is not just the Benque branch or in that area, but teachers countrywide. And we have had these issues reported by teachers and sometimes management. And there are times when we cannot identify who really is at fault because the managements would say it is not us; it is the Commission. And the Commission would say it is not us, it’s them who send in documents late. So it is difficult for us to determine who is at fault, but we discussed the matter with the minister when we had that meeting last week. And the minister had promised us—I am hoping that I can make this public—that the ministry would look into the matter and look to put in a specific person at the Commission to deal with these cases so that teachers will have a direct link to someone at the office—have a hotline of sorts where they can call to get information.”

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