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Feb 14, 2013

UB faculty protests audit irregularities

On Tuesday, the University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association held an open forum with members and the decision was taken to demonstrate. And today, on Valentine’s Day, they did. The primary source of the discontent is the Board of Trustees. The Association alleges there are financial and managerial irregularities in an external audit released way back in June of 2012. They say they have detailed and communicated it to the Board, the office of the President, Minister of Education and Prime Minister, but there has been no response. The faculty and staff regard that lack of response as blatant disrespect, and have decided to ratchet up the pressure. Early this morning faculty and staff gathered on the campus in Belmopan. Freelance Reporter Mike Rudon was there and has the story.

 

Allison Crawford, President, UBFSA

“This matter could have been dealt with internally at the board level. This mater could have been dealt with internally at the board level or at the ministerial level with the Minister of Education or the Prime Minister because we wrote them first. But we have not received any reply, which is a total disrespect for the faculty and staff of this national University of Belize. I’ve always heard it in the media that the good citizens of Belize cannot get the minister or the prime Minister’s attention, but the gangs can do. and now we are feeling it. So we will have to use UBFSA Gang.”

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This group of around sixty members of faculty and staff was vocal and united behind President Allison Crawford, and they were willing to risk the displeasure of the administration and the Board to have their voices heard.

 

And as they walked in unity, students looked on and so did other members of the faculty and staff from the windows of the administration building, while the head of UB security walked ahead but didn’t interfere in any way. The march ended in front of the administration building.

 

Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith, Sociology Lecturer

“I am here to support the faculty association. We have been requesting for a review of the internal auditing from October and there hasn’t been any response. So the faculty association has decided to step up their reaction towards it and I am here to support them.”

 

Amado Chan

Amado Chan, English & Literature Lecturer

“There’s a sense of distrust in the system. Actually the system cannot and should not work well for one or a group of select individuals and not work well for the rest of us.”

 

Crawford maintains that this does not have to happen, since their demands are simple and just.

 

Allison Crawford

Allison Crawford

“We want to appeal to the Prime Minister that this doesn’t have to go on. All we are asking for is an independent commission which we think is a fair question to ask and we want a fair and unbiased investigation.”

 

And if that investigation doesn’t happen, and the united voices of these faculty and staff members are still ignored, then there are already plans in place to take the next step.

 

Cesar Ross, History and Anthropology Lecturer

Cesar Ross

“From here we are moving towards a one day sick out to bring attention to it; to bring the university to a stop; to bring the political powers that be to acknowledge that something is happening here and it needs to be addressed. And if that doesn’t work, then we will have to look at what else and how further we will take industrial action.”

 

Melanie Smith

“I keep explaining to my students that we have a responsibility as citizens to speak out when we see injustices. And so it’s going to be really hypocritical of me to be teaching something and not to practice it. so I definitely here to support in whatever way and how we have to do it.”

 

While this demonstration was only planned for the Belmopan Campus, the Association has called for a sick-out on Monday for Faculty and Staff members at UB campuses countrywide. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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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8 Responses for “UB faculty protests audit irregularities”

  1. Storm says:

    This sounds like a just cause for protest — if anyone is stealing from UB’s funds, then they are depriving the students and the nation of the university they deserve.

    Follow all the evidence, and if there has been theft, put the crooks in prison. That should be the automatic and inevitable result of ALL misuse of public money.

  2. Rod says:

    It’s about time university students wake up and start standing up for the total destruction of our country standing up against corruption and this pm and gov. Who keep stealing from the poo people of this country all I can say is its about time.

  3. Johnny says:

    Also UB Central Farm should be audited. A lot of construction is happening and there is no storeman employed. Where does all the material go. Is it accounted for?

  4. sickntired says:

    I am proud of our teachers and students who are finally standing up for what is right. The minister of education and wanna be deputy pm needs to be accountable to the people. If he is not aware of what his cronies are up to he still has a chance to correct the situation. Do the right thing man.

  5. concern says:

    I strongly agree with Johnny. I don’t know how you know, but UB Central Farm, has a lot of funds moving, when the Campus Admin and the President are both from the same country, something is not right. Please Audit Central Farm too, please know that many people have been fired from there, especially the security officers and staff that have voiced there concern, especially if you don’t agree with the one moving some of the remaining materials to a near ranch farm, ask the Administrator.

  6. Johnny says:

    Also to Esperanza Village, a big mansion is going up for someone employed there? What is the matter. No accountability of thousands of dollars in construction materials.

  7. Bear says:

    From the comments about other possible thefts of public property, I think it would be a great idea to have a national Inspector General, independent of GOB, with an office of investigators to go out and investigate clues and reports like these. If it’s public money, we all have a right to know what is done with it and who is stealing it.

    There’s actually a very funny old movie about that concept called “The Inspector General.” It’s about the Czar era in Russia and how every politician was afraid of the Inspector General.

  8. Johnny says:

    The Director at UBCF controls all construction material using the same construction worker.
    That is not the way to properly account for items. Come on UB is supposed to be a professional
    institution both in education and management and accountability of assets.
    Please check on that. I had a son studying there and he was aware of things happening but as you try to speak about it , The lion (bearded man puts you on his black list).

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