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Mar 1, 2019

BNTU Prez Comments on B.M.H.S Woes

Earlier in the month, the teachers at Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk Town staged a sit out as a way to force the administration to address thorny issues affecting some teachers. As we reported previously, seven teachers were having difficulties in regularizing their employment status at the school. Until that matter is sorted out, the teachers are not legally employed at Bishop Martin High even though they were still receiving a salary from the school and not the Ministry of Education. According to the teachers, their documents were not forwarded to the Teaching Services Commission. B.N.T.U. President Senator Elena Smith is placing the blame on the school Principal, Luis Pook and Chairman of the board, Councilor Ian Cal.


Senator Elena Smith, President, B.N.T.U

Senator Elena Smith

“At the end of the day, it is the principal who submits those documents. They go through, they conduct their interviews. They make a selection. The board has a panel. They make a selection and then the principal documents those things and sends them to the secretariat for them to send to the Commission. So it has to be the principal. The board has some fault in it as well. They should be overseeing, not micromanaging but overseeing the running of the school. One of the issues that we find is that a lot of the times these boards depend on the principals to either advise them, guide them as opposed to the board providing them guidance to these principals. So we end up in these sort of situations where the principal then becomes the person who does all of these things on his or her own without the board sometimes knowing. Or we find that it is just the chairman alone and the principal making all the decisions and other board members are unaware. We found that in this case a lot of the members say they were not aware, they did not see the letter that the Ministry wrote to the board saying that they must correct the wrongs that they have done. Apparently, only the chairman saw the letter.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Has it been corrected?”


Senator Elena Smith

“Well, a second letter was sent to the new board because there is a new board. Again, I just received a call yesterday to ask if I could provide them with the letter because some of them on the board have not seen that letter. So it seems as if though that cycle continues. The chairman of the board right now was the vice chair of the previous board so he has been there so he should know what are the things they should do as a board.”


Keisha Young

Keisha Young, General Secretary, BNTU

“One other critical issue is the fact that these teachers who have been employed there for a while, their years were not counted towards their service. So that is an important issue that we are going to keep our eyes on as to how the board will address that situation in terms of compensating them, if necessary, for those years.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Because if not they stand to lose those years.”


Keisha Young



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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