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Nov 18, 2016

Supreme Court Decision Monday on Injunction to Stop Salaries Deducted for Teachers

The monthly salaries of almost two thousand primary and secondary school teachers hang in the balance tonight, as they anxiously await a decision to be handed down by the Supreme Court on Monday.  Earlier this week, an application for an injunction was filed on behalf of the Belize National Teachers Union.  The formal request for a court order to prevent the Government of Belize from effecting a deduction from the wages of all teachers who participated in an eleven-day strike in October is a last-ditch effort by the B.N.T.U.  The union has made several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Ministry of Education to rescind the withdrawal of salaries.  This afternoon, inside the chamber of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, accompanied by attorney Iliana Swift, made submissions on behalf of the B.N.T.U., while the Ministry of Education was represented by the Solicitor General’s Office.  Officials from the ministry, including Chief Education Officer Doctor Carol Babb sat in on the closed-door session.  Following the hearing, B.N.T.U. National President Luke Palacio addressed the media.


Luke Palacio

Luke Palacio, National President, B.N.T.U.

“…to seek the court’s ruling on putting in place an injunction to the government’s decision to withhold its contributions to the managing authorities of schools for them to be able to pay the salaries of our teachers for the end of November.  The Chief Justice has reserved his ruling for Monday afternoon at 2:30.”



“How confident are you that it’s going to go in your favor?”


Luke Palacio

“We cannot say with any degree [of certainty], to any great degree.  We are satisfied with our submissions.  We have seen where the ministry personnel through their attorney in particular are trying to make it appear that it is very difficult for them to rectify what they have done.  We had submitted to the ministry, through the government, that the B.N.T.U. would have been making a, asking them to rescind their decision on withholding the salary of our teachers.  We had given them a deadline by which time they should have responded and they have refused to do so and now they are coming to court.  Their argument basically is that it will be difficult for them; it will take a lot of time for them to redo the pay sheets.  We do not subscribe to that because we had said it in a media presentation; I had said it that usually it is the second week of the month when pay sheets are submitted by managing authorities.  The Minister of Education Patrick Faber denied this by saying that that is not true, that it’s the first Tuesday of the month.  We have been in this business for a long, long time and we are very familiar with that process.  As a matter of fact, even from the Teaching Service Commission we were asked, the commissioners were asked to approve recommendations from managing authorities for persons to be employed and that we were asked to make those submissions by the second Tuesday of the month in order for those teachers to make the payroll.  So who is playing the game?  They continue to try and play this game with the Belizean people and honestly we believe very strongly that the government is just trying to be a bully.  The Minister of Education, in particular, continues even though he is trying to say that he is not about to punish the teachers.  That is exactly what they are doing.  We are saying whether the salary for government teachers come through the Smart Stream or not, the Smart Stream is manned by human beings, therefore whatever changes they had made to the salaries of our teachers, government, primary and secondary schools that are paid through the Smart Stream, somebody had to undo that because the pay sheets remain constantly for the most part month to month.”

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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1 Response for “Supreme Court Decision Monday on Injunction to Stop Salaries Deducted for Teachers”

  1. carlos says:

    The minister is just trying to punish the teachers. He said that it is unfair for those teachers that did go to school. Many of these teachers that went to school during the strike did not teacher. There were no students to teacher or there were few to teach. Any lesson they attempted to teach to the few will have to be repeated. Again, these teachers that went to school during the strike will also get the 3 % in April with the interest agreed. A lot of them were just afraid of victimization. Many told me that it was basically of victimization.

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