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Nov 5, 2009

Orange Walk union against Teaching Services Commission

Orange Walk Branch of the Belize National Teachers Union has taken a different position than its parent organization, the B.N.T.U. Late this evening it held a press conference at the La Inmaculada Primary School to make public its objection to a number of issues with the amended education rules being proposed by the Ministry of Education. Its main beef is with the composition of the Teaching Services Commission, which if approved will have the authority to fire and hire teachers. Last week the National Teacher’s Union announced that it had agreed to support the amendments as proposed to Cabinet by the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. Following the meeting in Orange Walk, the President of that branch, Susana Vega, expounded on their concerns to News Five.

Susana Vega, President Orange Walk Branch, B.N.T.U.
“We have analyzed that the voting power of the Teaching Services Commission, the Government of Belize’s affiliated members are 50 percent with the chairman having the casting vote that in any decision that affects future employment. They can easily swing in favor of the government of the day.”

Marion Ali
“Who should it have been?”

Susana Vega
“It should have been more fair and in a more just manner to represent the best interest of the teachers.”

Marion Ali
“So I’m asking what do you suggest it should have been?”

Susana Vega
“At least that the government should have less, because right now the government has fifty percent of the voting power, plus the casting vote, so it makes them easily make a decision in favor of the government of the day. The other reason is the tribunal. The tribunal has only five members, eighty percent of those members are appointed by the Prime Minister. If the tribunal is going to, if the teachers have something that the commission has done against them, and they want to appeal to the tribunal, it is eighty percent government affiliated. So how can they serve the best interest of the teachers. Apart from that the tribunal’s decision is final. What about the role of the union? How will the courts fall into place here? In other words the teachers are negated that right of being represented by their union and by the courts of the land.”

The Orange Walk teachers are also concerned over a proposal that teachers who are found to have communicable diseases will not be granted a license. Also today the B.N.T.U. expressed its dissatisfaction with the Minister of Education over a statement he made last week, that it was not for the Union to decide on the commission.

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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