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Jun 8, 2012

George Frazer; a Life Revealed

George Frazer

George Frazer is an institution in the trade union movement. He has been at the front lines of the labor movement for close to three decades advocating for the rights of workers and fighting against injustices. The Lion, as she called, has led strikes, protests and has sat at the bargaining table for long years. But soon, the Lion is retiring from active unionism. News Five’s Isani Cayetano got his parting shots.

 

“God love all ah wi and wi must treat each other di way we want dehn treat wi.”

 

Famed Trade Unionist George Frazer, a career advocate of the labor movement in Belize, will be stepping down from his job as executive secretary of the Belize National Teachers Union in July, completing a twenty-nine year tenure motivated by his fervor for equality and solidarity within the workforce.

 

George Frazer, General Secretary, B.N.T.U.

“Reading and hearing about the struggle that other workers had and again with the establishment of organizations like the I.L.O., International Labor Organization, learning from some of the older trade union people that look workers are important.  Many of the people, the rich people dehn might got di money but da you haffi do it.”

 

In 2008, Frazer was among a cohort of thirteen outstanding Belizeans to be honored for their various contributions to society.  As part of his accomplishments he was conferred the Meritorious Service Award.

 

George Frazer, Recipient, Meritorious Service Award [File: September 18, 2008]

“I see it as an honour; I am humbled by it and the recognition given. I know I have given over forty years of my service to my country in terms of education as a teacher both at primary and secondary. I have done a lot in trade unions for over thirty-five years in the fore front and fighting for better conditions for all workers and especially for teachers. I have served on many boards, many, many boards. I have represented our country in at least thirty-seven countries in trade union and education matters.”

 

George Frazer transitioned from the classroom to the office of the General Secretary of the Belize National Teachers Union in February of 1983.  Since then he has been at the forefront defending workers from the many injustices in the workplace.

 

George Frazer

“The people at the lower end of the economic ladder da usually di poor man, the farmers, the people working out there in the streets with city council, town council, teachers, fishermen, many of these [kinds of people] they are being paid minimum wage and many times we were far behind the rest of the Caribbean.  And so these were the things that pushed me.”

 

In August 2008, Frazer was on the frontline charging that the Ministry of Education was deliberately behind the transfer of scores of teachers across the country, a move that the B.N.T.U. described as political interference.

 

George Frazer [File: August 26th, 2008]

“We are concerned on two fronts and not just this year. This year, what compliments it is that all the government high school boards were dissolved. Some of them still were just half way in their term. So one is the dissolving of all the boards during the holiday time.”

 

Marion Ali
“It’s the timing of it.”

 

George Frazer
“Yes, but even more concern to the union, every time after general election, whichever party get in they start to interfere in the government primary schools, especially in the Orange Walk. They felt some of the teachers were more from the other party which lost. They begin to transfer them and really it’s against the rules.”

 

Marion Ali
“But tell me how does this really affect the delivery of education at these schools?”

 

George Frazer
“It will affect the delivery of education because normally as the education rule sixty-nine which has to do with transfer, it tells you, you must not transfer a teacher more than every three years unless the teacher asks to be transferred and again when you make a transfer it should benefit both sides. It should benefit the school, maybe the school needs to balance the staff. There may be some staff which have few trained teachers or experienced teachers so yoh want uplift the standard of the school.”

 

In honor of Frazer’s professional achievements, a street was named after him in the Collet Division in May, 2011.  Unfortunately, the signage was vandalized a few weeks later. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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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3 Responses for “George Frazer; a Life Revealed”

  1. Storm says:

    We build and operate schools to serve the good of the students, not the teachers. I believe BNTU has gone too far, and will sacrifice quality education for the convenience of the employees.

    Who serves the children? Parents must represent their interests’ nobody else will.

  2. GEORGE BANNER says:

    We need more George Frazer in Belize and every county in Latin America. May GOD look over his soul and may he rest in peace. This is the Honorabe George Banner reportiing for the village of Brooklyn, New York .

  3. Belizean American says:

    George Banner, I do agree with the first part of your comment. However, as to the later part….the man is not dead…he is only retiring! No need to wish him rest in peace before his time.

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