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Jul 10, 2020

Minister of Education Weighs in on UB Crisis

Minister of Education Patrick Faber has been fairly silent on the UB matter.  Aside from government cutting the subvention for the national university amid the resulting economic crisis from COVID-19, there has been no official word from the Barrow administration on the standoff between the UB Faculty and Staff Union and the university’s senior management.  The cost-cutting measures being undertaken by UB, as well as the reduction in government subsidy, have placed the University of Belize in a financial pickle that has resulted in unresolved tension. The Union staged a protest tin Belmopan because it says it has been excluded from the decisions being taken to cut costs at the national university.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“This puts the university in a very, very bad predicament to start with and then as is the case with many of our private sector entities, it is certainly the case with some of our quasi-government entities, including the P.U.P. run Belize City Council and NICH, the Sports Council.  We have to try to find ways of making sure that things work for people and in some instances that requires laying off some staff, cutting the salary of some staff.  We’ve seen this all over Belize.  The public service and the teachers are among the fortunate who have not received any kind of cuts whatsoever in terms of their salaries.  So this is the backdrop by which UB now faces all of this and of course nobody likes to be in the situation where there will be some cut, especially in these hard times where money is indeed hard to come by for everyday survival.  So I understand where the faculty and the staff members are in relation to that but there is of course more to the mix and we’ve seen now where there was, as far as I have been able to investigate, and I want to make it clear that I, or no government interference has happened.  You know it gives me the chance to point this out every time.  People want an autonomous university.  They want institutions in general but especially the national university to be autonomous.  They hate it when politics intervenes in everything and politicians intervene in and that is why I have been quiet on this matter because I want people to know that that has never been my style in my thirteen years of leadership.”

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