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Jan 30, 2014

Leader of the Opposition supports and respects teachers

Francis Fonseca

As you heard, the message of the teachers was trumpeted in Dangriga. And if there is strength in numbers, then the teachers showed muscle today. There is also support for their cause from the Opposition. This morning, Francis Fonseca was not only critical of the government’s approach toward teachers. As a former Minister of Education, Fonseca says he not only supports them, he respects them.

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Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“We fully, fully support our teachers. I believe that they deserve the support of the entire nation—and not only our support, but our full respect. There are many great teachers in our society who work hard every day to educate our children and they deserve our respect and support. So we fully support them being out there. They have, I believe not only a right, obviously a right to be out there rallying support not only for their salary adjustment but also expressing their concern about national issues in our country. They have not only that right, but in fact they have an obligation to do so. I think as one very wise teacher said in one of the earlier rallies, if I don’t stand up as a teacher, if I don’t stand up and have my voice heard, how can I go into the classroom and say to my students that you need to stand up? You need to care about Belize; you need to love Belize; you need to fight for Belize. I really find it very disturbing and shameful that the minister of education has engaged in what I view as a personal attack on our teachers, a personal attack on the leadership of the B.N.T.U. and in fact, regrettably, the prime minister seems to have joined in. I listened to a tape of him calling into Wave Radio I think, earlier this week, where he referred to the president of the B.N.T.U. as a wind-up doll and said that for the teachers out there rallying, it was all about the money. How disgraceful for the leader of this country to be talking that way about our union leaders and about our teachers. So I condemn in the strongest possible terms the approach and the response of the government and the response of the minister of education; the response of the prime minister in this matter.”

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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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