BNTU’s Lies and Distasteful Rhetoric Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

Leaders of the Belize National Teachers Union seem to be getting more bitter and frustrated at every rally. Sources close to the union say their frustration stems from the fact that they have been unable to get close to fifty percent of their members out to the rallies. There are also many former loyalists who have lost confidence in Luke Palacio’s ability to motivate the troops and some close to him are planning to make a move on his presidency. The frustration from the very uninspiring rallies is felt across the board within the union’s executive. No one seems to be more frustrated than the man who has been hailed as the “Lion of the BNTU”, George Frazer.

Frazer remembers the days when the union was fired up and marched mightily. He forgets; however, that the catalyst behind that passion was a desperation to get rid of an administration that was giving away the country’s assets and pocketing the people’s money. That is not the case in Belize today. Where there is wrong there is also discipline. Corruption is not the order of the day in this administration and the Prime Minister is not a lying thief. The “rallies” being organized by the union today are being held in a time when teachers are being paid while furthering their education for free. The union is asking teachers to express displeasure in a time when they are receiving annual increments and more benefits than ever before. This is a time when a salary increase for teachers and public servants is imminent – no wonder why teachers have not attended these “rallies” in impressive numbers.

In Cayo on Friday, January 24th, the teachers’ rally was delayed by a drizzle. About 450 of them eventually gathered in the Macal River Park. There are over 1,300 teachers in the Cayo District. In an effort to galvanize the crowd, Frazer tried to assure the teachers that the Government was fazed by their turnout. He announced a breakthrough, “Just a while ago, not even half hour ago we got a phone call, the Prime Minister wants to meet with us. I don't know about what, but when the heat the come on and under fire, let him meet with Patrick and tell him to behave himself little boy." The crowd enjoyed Frazer’s act. However, it turned out to be, in the words of PM Barrow, “a great, big, fat, whopping lie”. In truth, the only meeting that is scheduled between Prime Minister Barrow and the union is one on Thursday, January 30th, which they asked for in a letter dated January 8th. P.M. Barrow expressed his disappointment with the rhetoric being cheered and encouraged at the rallies. Not only did Frazer lied and called Minister Faber “Little boy” numerous times, he also said, “Monday we are to meet and Patrick you better put on your girdle and come straight.” Prime Minister Barrow said, “I have always treated them with absolute respect and I’m almost differential to them.” PM Barrow says now that their cause is not receiving the public support they wish “they have taken the rhetoric to another level and now will employ lies to try and make a case that is otherwise failing.”

There is great uncertainty surrounding this week’s rally in Southern Belize. The rallies are normally scheduled for Friday but teachers in the South want to miss classes on Thursday for the rally because Friday is payday and, despite the wishes of the Ministry, teachers usually take the day off for that occasion. However, the meeting with P.M. Barrow and union leaders is scheduled for this Thursday. P.M. Barrow said if the union tries to postpone the scheduled meeting because their members want to miss school two days instead of one “that postponement will be an extremely long postponement because I am not here to play games. I am here to meet with them professionally and if they are playing the fool then I’m afraid that makes a huge difference and it will cast a long shadow over the dialogue going forward.”