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May 15, 2014

B.N.T.U. takes on the Minister of Education

Luke Palacio

What should have been a unified celebration in honor of all teachers on Friday, in Benque Viejo del Carmen, has been scaled down significantly to district level festivities commemorating National Teachers’ Day.  That decision was taken by the Ministry of Education earlier this month when the Belize National Teachers Union failed to realize its quota of an overall budget needed to fund the day’s activities.  On Tuesday, Minister of Education Patrick Faber suggested that the initial plan to celebrate Teachers’ Day at the national level was canceled because B.N.T.U. was being vindictive.  Faber’s comments did not sit well with the union and on Wednesday, a release was issued to set the record straight.  According to National President Luke Palacio, due to heavy spending since the beginning of the year the union could only contribute ten thousand dollars towards the total expense.  In a response from Deputy Chief Education Officer Carol Babb, following a meeting held with the planning committee on May second, it was announced that the organization of the day’s events would instead be taken up by the respective district education managers and B.N.T.U. executives.


Luke Palacio, President, Belize National Teachers Union

“In our view it was basically the same budget that was developed that was sent back to us and a request was made, a request was made that B.N.T.U. finances one-third of the budget which totaled a hundred and sixteen thousand, one hundred dollars.  I requested from the Deputy Chief Education Officer that, in keeping with B.N.T.U.’s policy and the way we operate, that a letter should be sent to us requesting the amount of money because that has to go to our council of management.  Okay, so she complied, sent a letter, our council met on April thirtieth and we concluded that we would not be able to give the one-third, which amounted to some thirty-four thousand, almost thirty-five thousand dollars.  And so, we agreed that we were able to, from our coffers be able to contribute ten thousand dollars towards this initiative and that apparently was outright rejected again in a letter sent to us on May second, or dated May second, from Mrs. Babb indicating that the senior management of the ministry has decided that Teachers’ Day would then be celebrated at the district level and that their district managers would consult with the union officers in the respective areas to determine how that day would be celebrated.  The minister coming with the idea of B.N.T.U. spiting anybody, we want to, we dispel that completely.  When you look at the budget, when you look at the budget transportation alone would have cost some sixty thousand dollars.  We have said to them, as far as we understood it, that they would have been using school transportation, the school buses, and we don’t believe that it would have needed to cost sixty thousand dollars because they do have contracts with these bus drivers and all they needed to do was explain how those contracts operate and then maybe we would have, there would have been a different look.  But we are also still disturbed because only a couple months ago, I think it was March sixth, if I’m right, when they had the twenty thousand march, the same school buses were used for free.  So why could that not have been a consideration in terms of ensuring that the day carry on the way it was originally planned.”

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2 Responses for “B.N.T.U. takes on the Minister of Education”

  1. Ali BaBarrow protects his 40 says:

    The Honorable Minister Fibber must be pissing his pants.

    BNTU, How dare you insult Ali’s favored successor?

    Halifax Gibbet for the whole cabinet, clean house, clean toilets.

    Thanks Patrick for the worst education in the Caribbean, your dream came true!

  2. Just another gringo in Belize says:

    That’s why there is such a huge push for homeschooling amongst the population.
    People are sick of the drivel , and nonsense in the schools. Our children deserve better.

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