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Oct 6, 2011

Belize Branch of National Teachers’ Union say no to the 9th Amendment

Kathleen Flowers

The proposed ninth amendment to the Belize Constitution was also discussed in the old capital on Wednesday at the Annual General Meeting of the Belize District branch of the Belize National Teachers Union. While they didn’t have the expected turnout, the re-elected president, Kathleen Flowers, told News Five today that they carried out a vote among the teachers to determine the branch’s official position. And again, the result was a resounding no to the ninth. However, Flowers says that some teachers are not familiar with the revised version in which some offensive language, including a part of section sixty-nine (three), one forty-five (one-B) and one forty-five (two) were removed at the behest of the Council of Churches. She gave us the detailed results of the teacher poll.

Kathleen Flowers, President, BNTU Belize District

“We did a briefing with our teachers reminding them that we had taken teachers to Belmopan on a consultation process, we reminded them what the amendments were considering that certain changes had been made with the Council of Churches and we asked them to take a vote on that matter related to the ninth amendment. We did it by secret ballot, we chose to go that route and we had a total of two hundred and sixty-three teachers voting out of the attendance. We had over three hundred teachers at the meeting. Out of that vote, the results turned out to be that we had a hundred and sixty-nine who voted against the ninth amendment and we had eighty teachers who voted for it and fourteen who handed in blank ballots.”

Delahnie Bain

“What were some of the concerns from the teachers who voted against or…”

Kathleen Flowers

“Most of the teachers who voted against and those who even chose not to hand in anything on their ballot were speaking of further need for clarity. That’s one of the words we heard resoundingly as the executive members went through the pews picking up ballots and asking teachers if they were comfortable with what they had so far and they heard from many, many of our members that they were seeking further clarity. So that may have prevented some of them from voting the way we would have wanted them to vote.  The national wanted to hand in its position to government by the first of October. All branches having not had their meetings, it could not hand in such a position. So this week we are dispensing with our branch meetings and then we go to the council table, which is the highest order of management for the union. We go to the council table with each branches position and then we’ll put together, we’ll consolidate a national position after that and that’s what we’re going to send in to government. That should happen by the fifteenth of October.”

Flowers urges the BNTU Belize District members to be more involved in issues such as the ninth amendment which continues to be a national concern.

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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