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May 11, 2020

B.N.T.U. Members Have Mixed Feelings Over G.O.B.’s Cost Saving Measures

Elena Smith

The Belize National Teachers’ Union is yet to form an official position on the government’s cost-saving measures proposal. The waiving of increments will also affect the thousands of teachers and the National President, Senator Elena Smith agrees with the P.S.U.  In speaking with News Five today, Smith says that for years the government was being told to tighten up and control its spending. She says that comparing what the ministers will give up to what teachers are being asked to sacrifice is an unbalanced assessment.


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

“Our teachers have varying views on the matter in terms of the foregoing of the increment because we do have some teachers who are readily to give up but we do have some teachers who would not mind but under certain conditions. One of those conditions is clearly the fact that as teachers our salaries are not very big, our increments are not huge, we don’t get additional allowances as teachers despite the fact that we take out from our salaries to do our job most of it and we do a lot of over time. We don’t get paid for those kinds of things. Some of them have several conditions. Some of those conditions are in line of those cost saving measures that the P.S.U. registered. We too have those same concerns in terms of the cost saving measures because we do believe that the government has been given these suggestions before, more than once, and we feel that they have not been adhering or at least trying to use some of those to save some of the cost that they go through to enable them to be able to properly do what they must do. So our members have mixed feelings.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that there is that balance what the Prime Minister was trying to make in his press conference, press statement that ministers, C.E.O., heads of departments are giving up as much if not more than public officers?”


Elena Smith

“Well again when you look at all that those persons are getting in comparison to what teachers and public officers get, you can’t compare me giving up eight hundred dollars if I am collecting eight thousand compared to a teacher who is getting two thousand and giving up sixty per month. When you multiple those by the entire year and you multiple those for the next twenty, twenty-five, thirty years that the teachers or the public officer have to wait to get back based on government’s proposal? How long will those persons be in office? Elections are in November. In essence they are not going to be giving up an entire year of those allowances or salaries.  We have not given a formal position as yet but I heard I think it was LOVE FM that the Prime Minister was saying that the B.N.T.U. had already made a decision and that he understands based on what had seen, I don’t know what he had seen, that we had been asking our teachers to change our positions to be able to support the P.S.U.’s position. I want to make it very clear that that is nonsense. We have not asked our teachers to change their position to support the P.S.U.”

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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