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Feb 16, 2012

Students taken out of school for Nomination Day

Wednesday was nomination day for the municipal elections and News Five had coverage from Belize City and Belmopan. But there were some sparks flying in Benque Viejo over the crowd that gathered for the United Democratic Party Nominations. According to P.U.P. Cayo West Standard Bearer, Oscar Sabido, the P.U.P. nominations were held from ten a.m. to noon. But after candidates and supporters left, they were outraged at what happened next at the Town Hall. Sabido told News Five via phone today that a group of primary school students in uniforms were taken by their teachers to support the U.D.P. candidates and that has angered parents.

Via Phone: Oscar Sabido, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Cayo West

Oscar Sabido

“After we finished, the—what you call the procession for the United Democratic Party candidates began in the afternoon and school children from the Mount Carmel School were brought in and these are primary school children in uniforms. A number of parents came to complain to me that their children were taken there by the school and that they were not happy about it because this is a political event and sometimes it gets a bit unruly and sometimes there is physical force used. Sometimes people throw stones and that kind of thing so they were concerned about the fact that the kids were out there and they were upset about the fact that the school administration had allowed or seen it fit to take these children out there to witness a partisan political nomination of candidates for the United Democratic Party.  Children don’t vote, they are not eighteen years of age so they cannot participate in voting. And thirdly, I don’t think that parents want their kids to be brought into the political fray because they don’t understand the issues at this stage. We had sought the police’s intervention on the matter but the officer in charge here just brushed the matter away and felt that he had nothing to do with it. So we wanted to, in a sense, record our dissatisfaction with what happened yesterday and say that that is a matter which the school administration should not allow here in Benque to have children used for political purposes. It augers badly for our democracy and for the school administration to allow this. The catholic school in Benque should have better, what you would call discretion in matters of this kind.”

Delahnie Bain

“So what do you think was the purpose of them taking these kids out there?”

Via Phone: Oscar Sabido

“Well, the alleged explanation that one of our persons got from them [the school] was that it’s sort of a civic exercise and civic lesson. But it was only, in our opinion, partisan because they only went out there when the United Democratic Party candidates, which is the incumbent party in the town council went out. If they really wanted everything they should not have been part of the crowd in front of the Town Council Office, but they would have simply been instructed or told about the process; not participating in the process to support a party.”

Sabido feels that the school was influenced and perhaps coerced to take the students out to support the U.D.P. candidates.

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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5 Responses for “Students taken out of school for Nomination Day”

  1. Gazombadam says:

    I believe the same happened in Belize City to support a teacher running for councilor. This was the PUP nomination. I don’t agree with the comment saying that children don’t understand the issues. I believe a lot of them do understand. In fact they should know because in PSE several questions comes out regarding the political process including what is nomination. The only thing I think the teacher should have done is to take them out for both parties not only one.

  2. benque observer says:

    This move by the Mount Carmel Primary School Administration does not surprise me at all. It is well known here in Benque that the current principal and the local manager for this primary school are fervent supporters of the UDP. To have used the school children for this only shows how low they are willing to go. If that was not their intention, then it only shows that they lack prudence in their work.

  3. Mosh says:

    Disgrace to the Benque teachers, they should not involve our primary school on their dirty politics.

  4. Concern says:

    Ministry of Education where are you on this? I hope to see some action taken against the principals who allowed this to happen. The safety of the kids should be foremost on anyone’s agenda. Parents need to speak up and demand that these principals are reprimanded.

    At that level, Civic exercise/lesson, should be done in the class room – not in the face of danger!

  5. Concerned parent says:

    Some Benque teachers and their administration infact need to mature as persons and educators!! Our children don’t need tobe part of Political issues out there, enoung they have at home with some parents who are fanatics of their respective parties!! The teacher should be more intelligent and can well explain to the children what nominations are all about instead of exposing them to danger and ignorance of the people out there celebrating ahead of time!!!

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