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Jan 23, 2013

B.N.T.U. and P.S.U. says union busting; P.M. says not so

The head of the Belmopan Branch of the Belize National Teachers Union, Corland Galvez and her membership are up in arms over a letter from the Ministry of Education authorizing the closure of schools at noon today. The letter asked parents pick up their children because teachers would be attending a meeting with Minister of National Security, John Saldivar. That action added salt to the wounds of the teachers, who have already set a date for a national demonstration because the government is unable to honor salary adjustments. The national President of the B.N.T.U. Luke Palacio, the President of the Public Service Union Marilyn Blades and the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers Jose Castellanos condemned the action by Saldivar calling it union busting. News Five asked the Prime Minister about it, but the Prime Minister did not agree that the language commanded the teachers to a meeting. He says it was simply an invitation. Well before the PM’s comments air, we repeat the words of the B.N.T.U. national president who called it union busting on Tuesday.


Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U. [File: January 22nd, 2012]

“When that letter came out from the district education officer in charge of the Belmopan area in which they have indicated that the Government of Belize through the office of the honorable John Saldivar, after consultation with the Ministry of Education, is inviting teachers in the area to attend a meeting to discuss the collective bargaining. We feel that this is an attempt at union busting.”


Jose Sanchez

“Was it appropriate for the Minister of National Security to have the Ministry of Education to instruct teachers to close their doors and send students home today for a meeting in Belmopan, the Capital?”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Again Jose, you are asking me a question based on a premise that I have no knowledge of. You are telling me…”


Jose Sanchez

“The Ministry of Education sent a letter to the union in Belmopan.”


Dean Barrow

“You have a copy of the letter?”


Jose Sanchez

“Yes I have it—not on me, but all media houses received it yesterday.”


Dean Barrow

“Well then sir again, how are you going to ask me to comment on a version of events that I have no knowledge of and furthermore I will tell you, I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you sir.”


Jose Sanchez

“The B.N.T.U. and the P.S.U. and the Association had a meeting yesterday to condemn the action of the government for forcing them to a meeting.”


Dean Barrow

“That may be true.”


Luke Palacio

Jose Sanchez

It’s the same meeting that I am referring to.”


Dean Barrow

“Forcing whom to a meeting?”


Jose Sanchez

“The teachers in Belmopan.”


Dean Barrow

“If the minister invited teachers to a meeting, how are they obliged to come? What does the compulsion consists of? They put a gun to their heads? They threaten them to withhold their salaries?”


Jose Sanchez

“The compulsion says; they said close doors, tell teachers to attend the meeting and tell parents to pick up children. That’s instructions; that’s a command. That is not an invitation.”


Dean Barrow

“Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, I don’t want to quarrel with you, but I am telling you I do not accept your slanted description of what has happened.”


Jose Sanchez

“The teachers, the B.N.T.U. and the P.S.U.; this is what they are saying. It is not my slant; it is what their press release is saying. It is union busting.”


Dean Barrow

“Sir, if you think a minister asking to be allowed to address teachers, if you think that action constitutes union busting.”


Luke Palacio

“We feel that this is an attempt at union busting. Belize national teachers union along with our joint negotiating team has prepared a statement that has been sent out to the media in which we are advising the teachers to boycott that meeting—either they stay at home or report to their regular place of work during the time of the schedule meeting. We see this as acting in bad faith.”


Late this evening, Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, issued his comments on the infamous letter that was sent to teachers for a meeting with him. Saldivar says that he maintains “absolute right, obligation even, as an Area Representative to consult with constituents on matters affecting their wellbeing.” And he thanked about fifty teachers who showed up for the meeting this afternoon.

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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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11 Responses for “B.N.T.U. and P.S.U. says union busting; P.M. says not so”

  1. Rod says:

    If unu teachers no march pa this corrupt pm and gov then unu deserve what eve unu get now is the time to Betta unu country for ours and your children for the future of his country so if unu wa keep working for peanuts while all these ministers fill their bank accounts with your money then do nothing but if you care unu Betta march and demand a raise or kick this pm and gov. Out guan judas guan.

  2. Buju says:

    In my view all the Hon. member from Belmopan was doing was trying to help out the situation!

    I see no problem with someone wanting to find a solution to the problem – but if some of the teachers like Galvez have their own agenda then definately she would have a problem with the Minister trying to help ease the situation!

  3. hmm says:

    the 50 teachers that accepted the “invitation” knew what they would happen to them if they didn;t show up to the meeting.

  4. rasta says:

    If Saldivar wanted a meeting with his constituents, he could have asked for a meeting of Belmopan, put an ad and have a public meeting for everybody. But that would not be honest, if he really and truly wanted to meet constituents, he should have gone to Salva pan since they voted for him(his wife). The rest of Belmopan is hostage. So union busting is true.

  5. informed says:

    I think since Saldivar like talk pan radio about the economy as if he is an economist, then he talk bout crime as if he is the crime minister. But as National Security minister he had the record number on crime, 145 record number of murders. So this crime expert want to use his skills now to prevent the teachers adn public service union members from protesting… Thats y he force this meeting that failed. instead of looking like he save the UDP government, he make it look bad. Y he no shut up? Why he concentrate on the immigrant population. Belmopan people no like he.

  6. SP says:

    Everytime I hear Barrow speak, he’s like: ‘I am not aware of the situation and I cannot comment if I am not aware of it’. What an arrogant #@$%%@, seriously! Is there anything he knows?


  7. Rough says:

    Government cannot afford a raise of pay to teachers but CAN AFFORD BRAND NEW VEHICLES TO MINISTERS. Its a damn shame that since 2002, teachers cannot receive a decent raise. Teachers, you know exactly what to do. STRIKE. and in 2 months time, VILLAGE COUNCIL ELECTION and lets send a strong message to the UDP – (strike 1).

  8. Belmopaneze says:

    All of a sudden Jon-Jon recognizes his “obligation” to consult with his constituents! Is it not significant that in 5 plus years as Area Rep this is the only issue “affecting their well being” that he suddenly felt the need to consult with constituents? One might want to call his sudden activity as one of self interest, rather than out of some sense of “obligation”!

  9. Ragamuffin says:

    Barrow the get liad just like Said Musa

  10. what says:

    Call a public meeting if you want to meet with constituents. I think the PM get caught with his pants down about the letter. He no know about the letter but he was talking about the letter on WAVE that same morning. PM says..i rephrase “So u need the paper in front of you for me to answer the question. You no have the paper? so I can’t answer the question.”
    PM maybe we should use that defense for the ICJ too? What you have claim on Belize? Show me the claim letter. You no have the claim letter? ICJ Court dismissed”. LOL.
    PM nobody ketch u in the house, this reporter ketch u..maybe u had a bad day.

  11. MzDee says:

    Hahahaha you guys are killing me but you are so right about Saldivar. He think he knows everything just like all his other sisters who works for the government. They ALWAYS want to control, manipulate and micro-manage everything!!! And Saldivar with yi arrogant self. I find myself laughing over and over last night when Mr. Barrow got served. Good job Mr. Jose Sanchez. Thanks for putting the pressure on Mr. Barrow and never back off till Barrow got blue and di babble up. lol. It shows that Belizeans do got talent cause dis ya UDP govt think that only deh have brains and they can fool everybody else. Congrats goes out to the journalism crew. Hats off to you guys and keep the pressure on.

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