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Jan 17, 2022

School Wardens Protest Firings

Today a group of women turned out in protest at the Truancy Unit of the Ministry of Education in Belize City. They were up in arms because they were being issued termination letters. One woman was about to apply for maternity leave when she was let go instead. While they claim they are being politically victimised, the ministry says that they are cleaning up the School Security Warden Program that is in disorder. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A group of emotional women, some single mothers, travelled from across Belize District to the Truancy Unit of the Ministry of Education. They were informed last week Friday that they were not to report to the respective schools where they had been working as wardens for years, but instead to pick up a letter from the office in West Landivar. All five women were terminated; several after more than ten years of employment.


Ingrid Hernandez

Ingrid Hernandez, Former School Warden, Ladyville Evangelical School

“Friday evening, I get a call from ministry saying that I supposed to come here early Monday morning before I go to work to receive a letter. The person didn’t state why or what but she said to come here and get the letter before I go to work. So I said okay. Neither the person that called us to give us the information is here, neither the letter is being provided so we want know weh we deh pan. I mean fi say, if you di terminate somebody, you supposed to done have everything. This morning when we went into the office and asked the reason for the letter; that’s when they told us it is our termination letter. So that is how we know.”


Agnes Thompson, Former School Warden, Hattieville S.D.A. School

I play the role of parents, caregiver, family, teacher sometimes. I see to it that my children are okay at my school. Anybody could attest to that at my school, even if you have a dislike for me everybody has to admit, I take care of the children at Hattieville SDA School to be best of my ability for the past eight and a half years.


These women believe that they are being singled out for their support of the U.D.P. They say that while they do ascribe to a political party, when it comes to the service they provide to children, they say they cannot be faulted. Agnes Thompson who worked at the Hattieville SDA School says that after eight and a half years, she was terminated. To make matters worse, she is seven months pregnant and was soon to go on maternity leave when she was dismissed.


Agnes Thompson

Agnes Thompson

“More than disrespect. I was about to apply for maternity leave and this is what I get a couple of days after – a termination letter that is not even ready. The more I am here waiting for a termination letter, the more irritated I am getting because this is totally wrong. I know that politics behaviour and victimisation, but regardless. Weh dehn mean ah me. Dehn couldn’t wait? You understand me? Dehn must coulda mi wait.”


Ingrid Hernandez

“Political victimization, sir. This is politics. I work dah Ladyville Evangelical for five years and six months and my principal, if she can attest, not one day I ever miss class, ever miss school for one reason or the other. l deh dah school whenever that school gate open. I attend to these children like dehn dah actually mines.”


According to the signed letter, the women were hired on a temporary basis under the School Community Liaison Program and that their services as school warden are no longer required. Joining the unemployment pool, these breadwinners, are worried about providing for their families.


Agnes Thompson

“We have to lef everything to God now because I am a single mother, almost ready fi maternity leave. What benefit will I be getting if I am not employed anymore?”


Duane Moody

“You have kids in school?”


Agnes Thompson

“I have two children in high school and two in the primary school that I used to work. It is going to be hard for me. How will I provide for my children and I am a single mother?”


Ingrid Hernandez

“Fi me, God provide fi me cause I have other ways of making money, honest money. But yo have people weh dah single parents. My fellow warden dah wah single mother; her husband died. She has five kids and two dah college. She not even politically affiliated with anybody; she noh show no sign of politics and that dah because I work with this lady five years and not one day she discuss politics with me and she get terminated as well. So me up yah di talk dah noh only fi me, because I know weh part my next bread wah come from, but dah fi she.”


News Five has confirmed that replacements have already been installed at the institutions as schools transition to hybrid learning. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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