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Dec 11, 2019

B.N.T.U. Upset with M.O.E. over Corozal Property

Luke Palacio

The Belize National Teachers Union is gearing up for round of battle with the Ministry of Education over a property in Corozal Town. The property is known as ‘teachers’ site’ and the Ministry of Education has reportedly acquired a portion of that land to construct a preschool under the E.Q.I.P. project through which a number of schools are being opened countrywide.  But the B.N.T.U. is saying that the property has been in the name of the teachers of the Northern Housing Co-op for many years.  Over time, the Corozal branch of the B.N.T.U. has maintained the property and paid taxes to the Corozal Town Council.  So when a sign was installed at the property informing the public of the new preschool, teachers became concerned and now the union is reacting.  A correspondence from Union President Senator Elena Smith states that discussions with M.O.E. officials were had on Monday but no agreement has been reached. The groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for today but has been postponed. In the memo, Smith informs all branches of the union to get ready to stand up. It’s not Hilltop say the militant union.  First National Vice President Luke Palacio spoke to News Five via telephone this evening.


On the Phone: Luke Palacio, 1st National Vice President

“Our understanding is that the Ministry of Education has acquired a portion of lands that is known as the teacher’s site in Corozal Town. This land has been in the name of the teachers of the Northern Housing Co-op for many years. Efforts have been made over the years to try and regularize the status of that land because they housing co-op had become defunct. So efforts were made by visiting the Lands Department and the Cooperative Department to try and get some advise as to how we would have proceeded with regularizing this situation. It has come now as a total surprise to us that the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Education has decided that they are going to acquire this land for the construction of a preschool under the EQIP project. We have also been made to understand that it was a different parcel of land that would have been assigned or proposed to the ministry for them to carry out this project but they instead probably refused and decided to choose this site, the teacher’s site. In fact if you look at the invitation it does say that this construction is taking place on the teacher’s site. We find this very distasteful. We see this again as an attempt of the Ministry of Education and maybe particularly the Minister of Education to continue his efforts to try to undermine the B.N.T.U. as we continue to fight for our rights as a unionized organization.”

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