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Oct 6, 2016

B.N.T.U. Holds Countrywide Marches; Belize City Leads the Way

The Belize National Teachers’ Union led its members in mass demonstrations countrywide today, on this, the fourth day of a called strike. The union isn’t letting up as it continues to challenge the Government of Belize to stop stalling on their eight-point good governance agenda and working out the deferral of a planned three percent salary adjustment. They have found a wellspring of solidarity from sections of the community which support their views. Correspondent Aaron Humes reports from the streets of Belize City on the green wave sweeping through the Old Capital and the country.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Despite the Garifuna drums and the remix, Sweet Pain-style, of the enduring anthems “We Shall Not Be Moved” and “Solidarity Forever”; despite the almost cloudless day; and despite the many looking on from the sidelines as their parade swung through the downtown and into the Northside to culminate at the B.T.L. Park, most of the teachers of the Belize District Branch of the Belize National Teachers’ Union marched with solemn mien, perhaps contemplating whether they can continue this somewhat lonely crusade for justice. But they found their spirit and energy in the breezes wafting from the Caribbean Sea, issuing fiery broadsides at the Government of Belize for condescending to them. Teacher and Christian Abigail Hoare said from the rostrum that there is no compromise for corruption.


Abigail Hoare

Abigail Hoare, Teacher

“Unfortunately, we have many leaders that have been making unwise decisions, causing me to wonder where is discernment, where is wisdom. People flying in our country, people sitting in offices, people going to the House of Representatives; speaking on behalf of a smaller group of religious believers; religious citizens of the country and making unrighteous statements, unrighteous decisions. God is a God of justice and he is the same yesterday, today and always and his words will never change. There has never been, there will never be a time where God say it is okay to defend wrongdoing.”


Saint John’s College’s Yasser Musa says the strike has proven to be inspiring to the persons they most want to be paying attention – and, in this case, we don’t mean the politicians.


Yasser Musa

Yasser Musa, Teacher, St. John’s College

“I think that the patience of the teachers has been the most amazing things where they have not let up and they have been deliberate and strategic in their commitment. And we are all inspired by that. And I think the people who benefit the most from this action are the children of Belize. The children of Belize have not gotten a better lesson up to this point in history in civil action; not a better lesson.”


For an angry Joel Wade of Wesley College, the big mistake the Government has made is to underestimate the teachers’ resolve.


Joel Wade

Joel Wade, Teacher, Wesley College

“Two days ah wah give unu—two days…Monday Tuesday and Wednesday unu come back dah school. Unu hear mi then. I give unu two days—Monday and Tuesday—and by Wednesday, unu see unu same crazy people out there, unu supposed to mi deh back dah school. Well this dah day four and the way I feel right now, if unu noh come right, unu wah have to use dehn sub teachers. We noh wah call them substitute; I wah call them sub teachers. They wah definitely got fi get one fi me. Folks we are in this for the long haul. It is not or never. And if we have to walk into Belmopan to have a meeting with the PM or somewhere—if somebody could come way di hell from somewhere and have wah meeting with you and we deh right yah and you can’t even sit down and talk with me, something noh must wrong with you? Something noh must wrong with you? So we dah nobody.”


But their students are with them, and for proof of that, we found two students among the many marching in the parade.



“Unu da students right…why are you guys out here?”


Student #1

“To support.”


Student #2

“We are here today in support of all of our teachers because we know that they are here for a cause and we are standing with them.”


Also standing with them and their teachers is former Minister of Education Cordel Hyde, and Senator representing the Business Community, Mark Lizarraga.


Cordel Hyde

Cordel Hyde, Former Minister of Education

“We have to support all those issues mein; we have to support the teachers getting their three percent. They are in the only profession where they have to take monies out of their pockets and invest in their business. They have to spend hundreds of dollars each year to get their classes ready.  They have to spend money in the morning to fed kids who come to school who don’t have anything to eat; feed kids in the afternoon who don’t have anything to eat; help kids with school fees, help them with basic essentials. They have to take monies out of their own pockets and they never get reimbursed for that. The other issues – those are our issues, those are governmental issues; those are issues that every single Belizean—whether red, whether blue, whether yellow or green—should be fighting for.”


Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“The business community has several shared concerns that the teachers are championing today and I thought that I should come out and lend them my support because these are matters that the business community has been calling for and championing for a long time. So we have a common interest today.”


The overwhelming turnout and support is heartening for Belize District branch president, Kathleen Flowers.


Kathleen Flowers

Kathleen Flowers, President, Belize District Branch, B.N.T.U.

“That to us is indicating that we are making an impact; our message is reaching and our message is causing people to stop and think if the brush we are painting with is really true. And with the support we are getting from the community, we will use that to help give guidance as to where we are going to go in the future.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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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2 Responses for “B.N.T.U. Holds Countrywide Marches; Belize City Leads the Way”

  1. carlos says:

    Congratulations for the BNTU leaders and the teachers, you are in the right path. It is now or never. Governments have come and gone and nothing has been done to combat corruption in government. I don’t only mean ministerial people but also official in all government departments especially lands department, immigration department, CUSTOMS department etc. It is time to end all this corruption.
    Mr. Barrow sing the UNCAC NOW and work the ratification on the 9 of December. Set time line for when Legislation will be fixed so that it comes into effect.

  2. Stopthebs says:

    Don’t waver my Belizean educators stand your ground against these good for nothing politicians..don’t give in to their threats because if you do the future of Belize will lose meaning our stay strong and positive..eventually crime minister Borrow will give in..He has too much to lose if he stand firm..i’m with you 100 percent..

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