Pivotal because the teacher's strike rolled on today – and tens of thousands of school-children remained out of the classroom.
The news tonight is that the strike continues tomorrow, going into its eighth day. Today teachers were encouraged to show up at their branch headquarters to participate in unspecified activities. In Belize City, that meant awareness activities. We saw a small group of about 40 teachers proceeding single file along Central American Boulevard at midday where they were handing out leaflets. Under the deathless motto "We shall not be moved" those leaflets re-state the main governance issues and neatly add the 3% - as one of those immovable issues.
Tonight, at this hour, the Belize City Branch is having a Vigil at the Memorial Park from 5:30 to 9:00.
Teachers Union Agrees To Sit with PM
For his part, Faber posted on his Facebook page, quote, "Regardless of the circumstances, I have not and have no intention of casting any blame on the BNTU and the teachers of Belize for last night's incident at my residence."
And government needs all the goodwill it can get – because tomorrow the Prime Minister is meeting with the BNTU for the first time in three weeks.
Last night we told you about his invitation to meet on Thursday at 2:00. Well, a government release today reports that the BNTU has accepted the invitation. The main item on the agenda will be the governance issues raised by the BNTU. The government release states, quote, "It is the hope of the Government that the meeting will be fruitful and yield results that will see an end to the teachers' strike."
And while the government is hopeful, sources inside the union tell us that the BNTU is none too happy that Government continues to suggest a parallel track of negotiation on governance issues with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize.
Teachers Reject UDP Protest
And tonight at that vigil the teachers may be praying that there are no problems when the UDP holds a protest in front of their union headquarters in Belize City. According to the BNTU, the UDP has been granted a permit to protest and picket in front of their headquarters tomorrow morning until midday. We gather this is not just Alfonso Noble and Yellowman this time.
And that's why the BNTU has issued a release saying they are, quote, "very much concerned that the UDP will be allowed to come to the doorstep of the BNTU when we have our members here, daily" end quote. The BNTU asks, quote, "will our members, teachers, (and) supporters…be restricted in their movement in and out of the building by this protest?" End quote.
The BNTU concludes that this is, quote, "yet another attempt by the ruling party to instill fear and intimidation." End quote.
The BNTU calls on police to ensure that, quote, "no damage is done to the property of the BNTU or to those teachers who congregate at our headquarters daily," end quote.
And before we continue with the news, in an update to the story we just ran about the BNTU's concerns with the UDP's plan to picket their headquarters tomorrow, the UDP has confirmed that there will be no picket tomorrow. It has been called off in view of the afternoon meeting between the Prime Minister and the Union.