Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Education, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Hundreds of Teachers Demonstrate on Independence Hill during Budget Presentation
Mar 7, 2014

Hundreds of Teachers Demonstrate on Independence Hill during Budget Presentation

The Prime Minister announced that a big slice of the 2014/2015 Budget will be spent on personal emoluments; that’s three hundred and thirty two million dollars. Teachers and public officers will be getting five percent in salary adjustments and two percent in increments. Barrow made that announcement inside the house, but outside the teachers held a peaceful demonstration on national issues. But they also want more than a verbal commitment; they want it in writing. Mike Rudon has that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning hundreds of teachers marched down the Ring Road in Belmopan. With customary enthusiasm and what has become a trademark targeting of PM Dean Barrow and Minister Patrick Faber, these unionists from all ten branches of the BNTU wanted to ensure that their message is not misunderstood. In his Budget presentation today the PM made a commitment of a minimum of five percent salary adjustment. But the teachers seem less than trusting of his word.

 

Adelaida Guerra, Vice President, BNTU

Adelaida Guerra

“We have not received any writing about the salary adjustment. We have heard our Prime Minister’s saying five percent, but as part of the negotiating team we have nothing in writing. So we are asking—our members are asking for the written form because we noh want that in a week time or whatever, it changes. So that’s one of the things, and then we still have our social issues pending that we are still fighting for. Teachers are standing for that for our country.”

 

While the matter of the House proceeded without interruption, outside the House almost one thousand teachers gathered on Independence Hill with placards and determination. To be truthful it was expected that a larger percentage of the BNTU’s almost six thousand strong would be in attendance. But that could have something to do with the announcement by Patrick Faber that teachers who attended would be docked three days pay.

 

Reporter

“What kind of numbers are you all looking at today?”

 

Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, BNTU National President

“We are not looking at numbers. What we do know that we have the ten branches of the B.N.T.U. out here, and you can see they are out here in large numbers despite the attempt of intimidation by the Minister of Education. We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again—our teachers are fully well aware that when they take industrial action, their salary may be withheld. It doesn’t say ‘shall’. It says may be withheld and that is what we’re about. Again we’ve said it, Saturday and Sunday are a none school day and we’re hoping that those managements and the Ministry of Education in particular will not try to penalize our teachers by taking out of their salaries on Saturday and Sunday as they have been purported to be—to be—attempting to do.”

 

 

Adelaida Guerra

“I know that he has mentioned that but in our rules it says that we could get deducted the Saturday and the Sunday if we are missing on Monday, but as you know, Monday is a holiday. So I noh see how that will work, but we are out here because we believe in what we are fighting for.”

 

Luke Palacio, BNTU National President

“We don’t want to waste our time answering that but obviously this has nothing to do with politics but that is what politicians do. They practice politics so everything for them is politics. As far as we are concerned, this is a movement that is legally established in this country since 1970 and we continue to do what we need to do for our people of Belize.”

 

Prime Minister Barrow has stated that twenty-two million has been allocated which represents a five percent salary adjustment.

 

Luke Palacio

“We have a formula that we’re working that they proposed. If they formula is showing that there is—that there—the amount that is going to be given to the raise is twenty-two million, that is fifty percent of what was raised. So it is not the teachers demanding more. We’re saying that there is a formula that we are working and we’re going to adhere to that to see how it works out. We had requested initially as a counter-proposal, a bottom, flooring for the adjustment. The Prime Minister has not agreed. We still have that as an issue that we will negotiate, but it is not—I don’t want you or public to go with the idea that we are asking for more than what—what they are proposing at this stage. That is what the figures are showing—that they—that the formula will allow us to get.”

 

The salary adjustment issue is high on the priority list, but as we heard today, teachers also want to rein in corruption, and tops on their list is former Minister of State Elvin Penner behind bars.

 

[Nat Sound]

 

Luke Palacio

“You will recall the B.N.T.U. was one of the first organizations that put out a press release that we are not going to settle down until justice is brought. If Penner is found guilty then justice must be served because if it were an ordinary citizen that would have happened a long time ago so we stand with anybody ensuring that justice is done. If he is found not guilty that’s fine but let us not have anybody believe that they are above the law.”

 

Teachers were extremely vocal, energized, determined and unhappy for the entire duration of the House proceedings, which ended at just before two this afternoon. Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.

 

Be Sociable, Share!


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.

Advertise Here

2 Responses for “Hundreds of Teachers Demonstrate on Independence Hill during Budget Presentation”

  1. Lowjack says:

    Well, the whole matter is negative, you see, the teachers asking
    more money, the government is corrupt, besides I’ve seen
    the teachers work and there’s a lot of graduates from schools and
    high schools and they don’t know how to write correctly
    don’t know how to read,don’t know how to fill an application
    and government only wants more money in their pockets
    how many days of school have been wasted? The students are
    on the streets wasting time seeing their teachers fight for more
    money, what about to fight for more jobs, for a better education
    for a belize free of drugs an violence? For a straight sexual
    orientation? I bet you never thought on that one

  2. Lord LOL says:

    the “20,000″ strong persons whould have been out here dealing with corruption that actually affect women too.

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*