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Feb 5, 2020

B.N.T.U. Tells Government to Slow Down on Equal Opportunities Bill

Elena Smith

Proponents of the Equal Opportunities Bill, including the executive of the National AIDS Commission, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, as well as the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation, made their rounds in a series of countrywide public consultations last month.  During those discussions advocates of the proposed legislation presented the upside of the bill, but were met with staunch objection from the religious community.  While that piece of law is yet to be tabled before parliament, several organizations have weighed in on the controversial bill.  The Belize National Teachers Union is the latest group to share an opinion on the matter, asking government to pace itself in respect of the consultation process.  On Tuesday, National President Elena Smith told the media that the issue of the Equal Opportunity Bill was also raised with Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber.


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

“We discussed that matter today as well and the minister gave his view as to how the process is going and we thought that we needed to have a meeting with our members to discuss the matter.  We still will do that but at the point where the bill is right now, well it has not even been approved via cabinet and so there is still time as we understand it from the minister, that there is still time, there is no need for us to rush to have a forum to discuss the matter.  And as I said, when we get that final document then we’ll have time.  He has committed to giving us the time to meet with our members to discuss that bill.”



“What are some of the concerns that you guys have seen where you feel that misinformation has been introduced into the conversation about this bill?”


Elena Smith

“I think for us for right now, it’s just that the things that we are hearing from both sides, those who are fully supporting and those who are not supporting are concerning to us as teachers because they will have implications for us and for the education system.  And so, for that reason, we felt that we need to give our teachers time to really read through the bill, get some understanding of what is in the bill and then so that we can discuss and have a good discussion on what it entails and how it will affect us.”

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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