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Apr 16, 2021

Teachers Picket in Belize City

Union protests heated up today as teachers took to the streets in a number of municipalities. In Belize City, members of the Belize National Teachers Union picketed outside the branch offices of Belize Telemedia Limited and Smart, sending a message to not only these companies, but also to the government to once again denounce a salary cut and increment freeze proposed by G.O.B. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

At four locations across the city today – Digi Store on Regent Street, Belize Telemedia Limited on Saint Thomas Street and Smart headquarters on the Philip Goldson Highway and its branch in downtown Belize City – a small handful of teachers gathered to picket. They clamoured for these telecommunication companies to pay their taxes.


Tanya Flowers-Gillett

Tanya Flowers-Gillett, B.N.T.U. President, Belize District Branch

“We are actually picketing against the taxes, the huge taxes that are owed by these business places, specifically Smart and B.T.L. it is out there, the salaries will be cut, but these business places owe these huge taxes. Collect these taxes. That’s one way how we could get these revenues in. We are sending a strong message. Hear us. These people are the ones that owe; render to Caesar what is Caesar. You owe the government, pay the government! These are other things that could be looked into instead of cutting our salaries.”


Due to the COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines the numbers were small and scattered. The teachers were working in shifts as throughout the day they got the attention of not only motorists traversing the thoroughfares, but also the telecom giants.


Tanya Flowers-Gillett

“We are at B.T.L. on Saint Thomas and Smart on the Philip Goldson Highway and then we will proceed to Central Bank where the meeting is happening today with government officials and our union members.”


Duane Moody

“I know that meetings have been happening all of this week with the national executive of the B.N.T.U.  I know you sit on the executive. In terms of this is only a first step; there are a lot of other activities that have been planned.”


Tanya Flowers-Gillett

“You’re putting me on the spot here, but yes there are other planned activities of which I will not disclose now, but yes we have other planned activities coming up.”


The flyers sent clear messages, breaking down the numbers and highlighting the taxes that teachers pay compared to other professions. B.N.T.U. President Tanya Flowers Gillett says that there needs to be equity.


Tanya Flowers-Gillett

“It’s the people that work the hardest. We work hard and we’re paying a large amount of taxes. Think about these lawyers – six percent – and the amount of money they make compared to us teachers. That’s unfair, that’s unjust. So we need our government to hear us. Let’s be fair across the board.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


This afternoon Speednet Communications Ltd., also known as SMART, denounced as false all reports that Speednet owes the Government of Belize eleven point one million dollars in taxes. The company says they have always been GST compliant and have a certificate of good standing valid for six months from the General Sales Tax Department.

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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