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Apr 23, 2020

Late Pay for Teachers Sparks Concerns About Salaries

April twenty-fourth is the last Friday of the month and across the country several thousand teachers were expecting that their salaries would have been deposited in their accounts going into the weekend.  But, like other public officers, they too will have to wait until next Wednesday to collect their pay.  It’s only a difference of a few days, however, with the COVID-19 crisis at hand, coupled with the fact that teachers were paid early last month, their pockets are stretched thin. PM Barrow late last week sounded the alarm that the country is short of money.   This morning, the Ministry of Education sent out a memo informing the Belize National Teachers Union of the delay in payment.  The written communication was received with mixed feelings, as there are those on B.N.T.U.’s Council of Management who are simply grateful for still being able to receive their salaries in full, while there are others who are already feeling the severe financial pinch at home.  Going forward, there is a growing uncertainty among teachers that salaries will be cut amid the economic meltdown.  This afternoon, News Five spoke with National President of the B.N.T.U., Senator Elena Smith.


Elena Smith

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

“I didn’t expect that we would have seen such a memo.  We know that things are not too well right now with the situation that we are going through, but we felt that at least for this month teachers would have been paid on time, especially noting that we have had our last salary since March.  We don’t get paid twice per month as public officers, we get paid once a month and so our last salary was on March twentieth, so it would have been about six weeks since we’ve had a salary.  So that was the initial reaction that I had. Our council was informed, yes, and they have been reaching out to their members to get some feedback.  But as you know, we got the message this morning and so from then to now we have not been able to reach many of our members or a majority of them.  But for those who have been able to give input there are mixed feelings, if you will.  You have some teachers who are saying that they are grateful, first of all that they are still able to still get paid.  Some are saying that the time that they’ve been at home and the cost that they’ve had to bear for this period that they were really looking forward to getting their salaries today so that they could be able to go ahead and purchase more supplies for the home since we are still locked in. Others are fully understanding of the situation and have no issues with the delay because they are aware that there’s a delay but they will be paid next week, so they are grateful to know that they will be paid.  So mixed feelings and mixed comments in terms of reactions to that memo that was sent out.”

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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