Students taken out of school for Nomination Day
Wednesday was nomination day for the municipal elections and News Five had coverage from Belize City and Belmopan. But there were some sparks flying in Benque Viejo over the crowd that gathered for the United Democratic Party Nominations. According to P.U.P. Cayo West Standard Bearer, Oscar Sabido, the P.U.P. nominations were held from ten a.m. to noon. But after candidates and supporters left, they were outraged at what happened next at the Town Hall. Sabido told News Five via phone today that a group of primary school students in uniforms were taken by their teachers to support the U.D.P. candidates and that has angered parents.
Via Phone: Oscar Sabido, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Cayo West
“After we finished, the—what you call the procession for the United Democratic Party candidates began in the afternoon and school children from the Mount Carmel School were brought in and these are primary school children in uniforms. A number of parents came to complain to me that their children were taken there by the school and that they were not happy about it because this is a political event and sometimes it gets a bit unruly and sometimes there is physical force used. Sometimes people throw stones and that kind of thing so they were concerned about the fact that the kids were out there and they were upset about the fact that the school administration had allowed or seen it fit to take these children out there to witness a partisan political nomination of candidates for the United Democratic Party. Children don’t vote, they are not eighteen years of age so they cannot participate in voting. And thirdly, I don’t think that parents want their kids to be brought into the political fray because they don’t understand the issues at this stage. We had sought the police’s intervention on the matter but the officer in charge here just brushed the matter away and felt that he had nothing to do with it. So we wanted to, in a sense, record our dissatisfaction with what happened yesterday and say that that is a matter which the school administration should not allow here in Benque to have children used for political purposes. It augers badly for our democracy and for the school administration to allow this. The catholic school in Benque should have better, what you would call discretion in matters of this kind.”
“So what do you think was the purpose of them taking these kids out there?”
Via Phone: Oscar Sabido
“Well, the alleged explanation that one of our persons got from them [the school] was that it’s sort of a civic exercise and civic lesson. But it was only, in our opinion, partisan because they only went out there when the United Democratic Party candidates, which is the incumbent party in the town council went out. If they really wanted everything they should not have been part of the crowd in front of the Town Council Office, but they would have simply been instructed or told about the process; not participating in the process to support a party.”
Sabido feels that the school was influenced and perhaps coerced to take the students out to support the U.D.P. candidates.Email This Story