Teachers Rally in Belize City Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:00

teachers rally.jpg - 78.17 KbA little less than 500 teachers and supporters from the Belize District took to the streets of Belize City on Friday, January 17, in the third rally in a series that was supposedly planned before the announcement that Government would grant teachers and public officers a salary increase.

This rally  pooled  membership from the cayes as well, where there was a possible 1,700 teachers who could have come out, but only 29% (less than a third) showed up in support. For whatever reason that amount of teachers didn’t show up.  Those who did tried to make up for it by taking over Cemetery Road and the downtown area for a short march to show the BNTU’s machinery in action.

Everyone gathered at the Battlefield Park, where majority of the BNTU Belize City Branch’s activities were concentrated. Quite a number of schools in the Belize City area were closed because the teachers were out participating in this rally, and to ramp up a sort of ‘civil disobedience’, rally was conducted with as much gusto as required to disturb the normal flow and activity of the downtown area, in the near vicinity of the judiciary which had just re-opened for 2014, some 4 days earlier.

Again, executives of the Belize National Teachers Union claimed that these rallies are efforts of direct action by the teachers advocating against the different social issues. Observers, however, could have witnessed for themselves that while that is the platform that they’ve chosen, quite a bit of time from each of their main public speakers was spent talking about their pay, their financial issues, and their salary increase.

Minister of Education Patrick Faber has already publicly stated that he doesn’t believe that the country is at the point where important school days need to be lost, but the union has boldly declared that they will unionize on whatever time they choose, and no one will suggest or dictate to them. And while that has been one of the driving factors that the speakers at the rostrum have used to excite its membership, the reality is that the Ministry of Education has only observed the teacher’s rallies just like the rest of the country. Those speakers also did motivation checks with their supporters by subtly vilifying Minister Faber, suggesting that he, and supposedly the different school managers, are trying to intimidate them into silence. Is it so incorrect that the Minister voices his opinions about the rallies when he is asked to give a position by the media? If they would have truly listened to Faber’s comments, they would have heard that while he doesn’t approve of their unionizing on school days, the Ministry has been very tolerant of these rallies with no intention of disciplining teachers for their participation.

The BNTU goes to Cayo on Friday, January 24, where there are reports of a planned business shutdown in support, and they finish off at the end of the month in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts, disrupting 2 more school days for a non-issue, since they will get their salary increase.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:17