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May 25, 2018

Resolution Reached in Compre Standoff

Teachers and students were back inside their respective classrooms at Belmopan Comprehensive High School today, after a two-day sit-out effected by faculty and staff.  The protest was led by fourth form teachers who were dissatisfied with the manner in which the school’s board of management went about addressing the issue of outgoing students who failed to meet graduation requirements.  News Five understands that as many as sixty-six students were deemed ineligible to participate in the upcoming commencement exercise because their grades were below average.  But the board of management overruled teachers by moving ahead with its own directives.  Following Thursday’s industrial action, a meeting was scheduled today between the two parties which was mediated by the Belize National Teachers Union.  Late this evening, News Five spoke by phone with B.N.T.U. National President Elena Smith.


On the Phone: Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“Based on the information that we received from the staff members that there was a straying from the normal process that the school would use to determine or to review end-of-year grades for fourth form students and then to determine who would be the students who would be eligible for graduation.  So the process as they normally know it did not occur, there seem to have been some miscommunication and some sort of directives that were given by the board to staff and staff did not agree with the process that was taking place and so they took action to show their dissatisfaction with the directives that were given to them.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now, in respect of what has been happening over the past several days, we understand that the teachers effected a sit-out.  Where are we in terms of the discussion to try to bring things back to a sense of normalcy?”


On the Phone: Elena Smith

“Okay, that did occur, however, the teachers wrote to the board, wrote to the chairman of the board, requesting a meeting with the board and the staff so that they could discuss concerns that they have regarding this matter.  The chairman did grant a meeting with them and so based on the response from the chairman that they would meet with them, the staff decided to go back into the classroom today.  So they had regular classes today and they just, well they are still in meeting right now, the chairman and a few board members.”


Isani Cayetano

“What is the role of the Belize National Teachers Union, I guess, as a mediator in this entire process?”


On the Phone: Elena Smith

“We wanted to ensure that the concerns of the teachers were raised and that they were given an opportunity to share with board members what it is that they were concerned about, as well as for them to be able to share with the board the suggestion that they had in terms of resolving the matter.  We also wanted to ensure that the process that was happening was being done the proper way.  So really and truly it was for us just to be there to ensure that proper processes were followed, the rules were followed and that teachers were given the opportunity to share their concerns and get resolutions to those concerns.  I must commend the chairman and the board members who attended the meeting with the staff because they did end up with an agreement going forward and so we are happy that this matter, at this point in time, has been resolved to some point and should be finalized over the weekend and by Tuesday.”

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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