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Dec 31, 2021

Senator Smith Says M.B.E. Recognition Was Unexpected

Senator Elena Smith who also serves as the President of the Belize National Teachers’ Union said she did not expect the recognition of Ordinary Member of the British Empire. Viewers will recall that Smith, who has been vocal against the past administration in the Senate, has also led teachers in several protests against the current Government to challenge the ten percent salary cut for public officers. She told us she has been labeled by both major political parties, so this recognition as M.B.E. was a total surprise to her. But aside from the tough battles she has fought with the country’s leaders, her journey as a teacher began when she was very young.


Elena Smith

On the Phone: Senator Elena Smith, Recipient, M.B.E Recognition

“I did not expect to receive such an honour, and especially with the work that I do, always fighting with the Government. I really and truly did not expect this any at all. It came as a real shock to me, but I am very grateful and honoured that the Government has decided to recognize me for the work that I’ve been doing. As I’ve said, thirty-seven years of teaching and twenty-something years in union matters, I guess they saw it fit. I began teaching during the 1985-86 school year. I was in the City actually to attend sixth form because as you are aware, I’m from Toledo, and so I had gone to the City to do sixth form at the time. But I’ve always wanted to be a teacher from I was in primary school. I guess that was my calling and that was what I wanted to do and my grandmother who raised me felt that I was very young at the time. When I left fourth form it was on my sixteenth birthday so she said maybe I needed a break. So while taking that break, Saint Ignatius had a space and my aunt knew that I wanted to be a teacher, so she said there’s a space at Saint Ignatius School, you should apply. I went in and I spoke to the priest at the time and he said to me, “Report to school on Monday”.”

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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