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Sep 29, 2011

BNTU Orange Walk says no to the 9th Amendment

Otilio Munoz

At about this time, a constitution expert from the Caribbean, Dr. Hamid Ghany from the UWI, is making a presentation on the Ninth amendment. For all intents and purposes it is the first public independent discussion on the proposed amendment. The proceedings held countrywide have become the breeding ground for political operatives. But in the midst of the public discussions, various groupings have been taking their own stand. The Belize National Teachers Union held consultations back in August to discuss the proposed ninth amendment to the constitution with its members. While a national position has not been released, the Corozal Rural branch of the union was quick to announce that it was saying no to the ninth. Today, they were joined by the Orange Walk teachers, who voted on the bill at their annual general meeting on Wednesday. The Orange Walk branch president, Otilio Munoz, told News Five that results of the vote was overwhelming against the proposed amendment, even with the trimmed language.

Otilio Munoz, President, BNTU Orange Walk

“The voting process, it was done in a form that only financial members were able to vote. I have the results here with me and it was a total of one hundred and sixty-eight voted; one hundred and twenty-two teachers said no to the ninth amendment. Thirty-nine teachers said yes to the ninth amendment, four abstained and three spoiled votes. So in other words, the stand of the Orange Walk BNTU branch is that they are saying no to the ninth amendment. But I need to emphasize that this is not the stand of the BNTU, it is only a branch. The union is comprised of ten branches and out of those ten, the majority will win. If there’s [at least] six branches saying no to the ninth amendment then that will be the union’s stand. But to my knowledge, it’s only Corozal rural that has come out with no to the ninth amendment and Orange Walk is the second one. I also need to emphasize that this was brought by the national president, Mr. Luke Palacio. He mandated the branch presidents to carry out what is the position of the branch and making sure that the teachers vote and that’s why we decided yesterday to do that.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what were some of the concerns raised by the teachers opposing the amendment?”

Otilio Munoz

“Yesterday it was just the voting, there was no opportunity for them talk about it; that was done in Belmopan. What I can say about the overall Belmopan presentation is that it was yes, more to the utilities services section but when it comes to the court, that’s the one they didn’t really go with. So I believe that based on that, they made their decision.  I just want to say thanks as well because we had our election and I was elected once again as president and we had a good turnout of teachers and that shows that the teachers still believe in us and in the union. And I want to emphasize to teachers that they need to believe in their union, our union is strong and we have proven to both governments that when the National Teacher’s Union speaks, they need to be heard.”

The official position of the BNTU will be announced after all branches have submitted their individual positions.

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2 Responses for “BNTU Orange Walk says no to the 9th Amendment”

  1. Diehard Belizean says:

    Well, I called a teacher from Benque and it was told to me that Fraser and Luke Palacio wast here in a BNTU meeting but they were not told to take a secret vote on the issue.

    Come on Fraser, we all know you have not raised your voice on anything since the UDP got into government, and we know why. Before I have seen you raising fire when the PUP was in government and calling all to strike.. now silent… ever so silent. I hope that Luke Palacio does not follow Jaime Panti’s, BNTU past president, silence too.

    During Jaime’s presidency BNTU became a non-entity. BNTU which comprises of educators should always look at national issues and discuss them rationally and decide whether your voices should be heard.

    I only hope BNTU revives from its deep slumber. LONG LIVE THE teachers. By the way I am not a teacher, not a member of BNTU, not a politician, not running for political office, just a concerned Belizean.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    The 9th Amendment POPPY SHOW GOES ON………

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