Are teachers being bribed by BNTU president candidates? Print E-mail
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Thursday, 20 April 2017 00:00

By the time this issue of the Guardian hits the streets the General Membership of the BNTU, or if we go by the BNTU’s recent history, then we should say a hand full of those members, would be on their way to electing a new executive. The top and most sought after, high profile post on that executive is that of the PRESIDENCY. Vying for that top position are the following three persons: Mario Mesh of the Corozal Branch, Troy Coleman of the Stann Creek Branch and Senator Elena Smith of the Belize District Branch. All three persons are currently members of the BNTU Council of Management. In other word they are persons in the know. They all know what is going on in the union, because they are the persons who sit at the table and make the decisions for the GENERAL MEMBERSHIP of BNTU. The eventual winner of that contest should replace President Luke Palacio who is a glorified PUP lackey. Palacio demits office in August. We use, the term demits office, but he is not really leaving. As we understand it he will be staying on as one of the Vice Presidents of the BNTU. That spot is guaranteed because he is now standing for that position unopposed. Now someone moving from the top position to go serve in a lower position is not the norm. Perhaps Luke cannot or is not ready to let go of the BNTU BUBBY. The way it is being done is like the Prime Minister retiring as Prime Minister and running as a Village Council Candidate.

With the way Luke and those other members of the BNTU are playing musical chairs with the various positions in the BNTU Executive, it is possible for each of them to be on the executive for a total of 36 years, or in other words their entire teaching career. That is so because it is possible for them to spend 6 years in each of 6 executive positions. That is unlike the parent body the NTUCB of which the BNTU is an affiliate. In the NTUCB there is a three (3) term maximum, regardless of what the positions were, it is only three terms. We don’t know what would cause a person to want to serve a union, into almost eternity. It forces us to ask the question, if it is perhaps the money that would be collected from the 4000 plus Financial Members of the BNTU. During those 36 years those persons would have paid 35 million dollars. That is a lot of money on which some creative auditing could be done if the persons on the executive were ever to be unscrupulous characters. Now we are not saying that the persons on that executive are unscrupulous. However there are a lot of questions that people have been asking in regards to the finances of that union.

So hell bent are the persons who own the people at the top of this union, to keep them in control, that they have now resorted to offer what intelligent persons like YOU the readers of this newspaper, may consider to be a bribe. We were able to get our hands on a message that was being sent to the general membership of the BNTU. Although we had that message in our possession from the night of Sunday, April, 10, we held back on its disclosure because the message seemed so far out there. It is only because we have ascertained that the message was not a hoax, that we are now publishing it.

This was the message in its original form:

“Hey here’s inviting u out to convention 2017 on 19th and 20th April.  Free transportation and food for members. Trip to free zone and Chetumal all free of cost. Come and vote for Elena Smith for President of BNTU.”

Now to us that message was saying to those teachers we will give you these trips free of cost, IF you vote for the candidate we have asked you to vote for. What we must also note that if it were a politician or someone working for that politician saying to a voter “here is $100. Vote for politician #### . That act would be called a bribe and a corrupt act. One of the first persons to say so would be the very same candidate , who the senders of the message seems to be supporting.

Channel 7 must have been baffled by the message just as much as us. So last Thursday just before the Easter break they caught up with that candidate and ask her about it. According to them, she explained that at every convention, the host branch organizes a trip for teachers to that part of the country. In this instance Corozal rural is hosting and they are the ones offering the trip to the free zone and Chetumal. Smith stressed that this free trip is NOT from her personally. She said that she, “does not have money to pay anyone” to vote for her. Now the questions our colleagues at Channel 7 did not ask her, but certainly if we were the ones conducting that interview, our questions would have been: If she believes that the Corozal branch in the wording of the invitation gave her an unfair advantage over the other two candidates running against her? Another one would have been: if she believe that the Corozal branch should have asked her permission to put that call to voters asking for their support for her, without the authors of the message first getting her permission to do so? Then another question would  have been why did the invitation just not say as a part of the National Congress we are arranging free field trips to the Free Zone and Chetumal? Or final question would have been: if she supports what obviously appears to be an attempt at ELECTORAL BRIBERY and could have a negative effect that could blow back against her? Being the “HONEST PERSON” she is, we have no doubt that the Honorable Senator is being truthful in this one.

Editorial note, just should in case some readers or the authors of , or anyone connected to the message, may not understand why the content of the message may be viewed as an attempt at bribery. We are including what is meant by bribery

>>> Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient (s) in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to benefit /interest of the giver or giver’s special interest ) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is also defined by Black,’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person (s) in charge of public or legal duty or any other functions.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:18