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Aug 29, 2008

P.G. mayor says there is political interference at T.C.C.

Story PictureEarlier this week, the Belize National teachers Union locked horns with the Ministry of Education over the transfer of teachers and the premature termination of school boards. And today there are reports of a another storm ready to erupt at the Toledo Community College where the high school has not yet opened and classes could be delayed even further. At the eye of the storm is the post of principal for which two applicants were interviewed by a panel of nine. But according to the panel, their decision has been overturned. Speaking from Punta Gorda, Mayor Carlos Galvez who sits on the T.C.C. Board explains the contentious situation.

Carlos Galvez, Toledo District Mayor
“On Wednesday the board held its interview for the post. There were three candidates, of the three candidates, two show up; one by the name of Doctor Francis Arzu who I must note it the acting principal of the institution but holds the full time post of vice principal. The other candidate was Mr. Carlos Chan, who heads the Science Department, he’s the H.O.D. for the Science Department and both of these candidates stopped the interview. They were interviewed by the panel of nine members: a community representative, a parent/teachers representative, a local government representative, teachers’ representative and the board of governors.”

Marion Ali
“What is the reason behind this or the reasoning behind it?”

Charles Galvez
“Well, what happened is that the former principal, Luke Palacio, was forced to resign.”

Marion Ali
“By whom?”

Charles Galvez
“He was frustrated by the new board. The former principal, he resigned, was given the post of English lecturer and that made the open space for the post of principal and hence the reason it was advertised and the applications are submitted of the two applicants applying for the post.”

Marion Ali
“Now, I see that you are trying to imply here that this thing is all political Mayor Galvez.”

Charles Galvez
“It is definitely, without the shadow of a doubt, it is political. The board, comprising of nine members who were there, a majority of five to four voted in favour of Dr. Francis Arzu and right there and then the board decided that we must indicate to the ministry who we have selected for the post. We draft the letter, the chairman was asked to do that right at the same venue. We were not privy to the content of the letter. It was sent up to the minister of education just to let the minister of education reject the boards decision, reject the boards decision. So you are telling us that regardless of conducting the interview, regardless of going through the procedure, the board, given the task and responsibility to hire, we have no say in that. The minister reject the letter and sent it back to us.”

Marion Ali
“School has just opened now. What’s the status with the delivery of education? Has it affected that in anyway and how do you see this panning out?”

Charles Galvez
“Marion, school classes should have—the doors of Toledo community College should have been opened one week now. So the students are deprived of classes one week and because of all that is unfolding Monday is supposed to be the first day of class, today is the orientation. The board and the teachers supposed to have that interactive session. Because of the new appointment of the principal, giving different appointment; appointing new vice principal and we need to be advised on this issue. I don’t think he has the authority to write both present vice principals, indicating to them and he has implicated the board of governors saying in the letter that the board of governors—in consulting with the board of governors he has had to remove both vice principals: one for academics and one for student services and their services are no longer required, creating and evolving more issues and more problems, changing all the H.O.D.s. this is unbecoming. There is no endorsement letter from the Ministry.”

Marion Ali
“What do you see happening next week?”

Charles Galvez
“Well, what I see happening next week, I don’t believe that classes will be flowing fluently, you will definitely have some mix up.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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