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#518247 - 10/13/16 10:51 AM Strike Goes Into Day 8
Marty Offline

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.

Channel 7


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#518275 - 10/14/16 10:57 AM Re: Strike Goes Into Day 8 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Strike Continues

And the teachers union has decided: the strike continues tomorrow.  Here's what Luke Palacio explained to the media after discussing with the committee of management after meeting the Prime Minister:…

Reporter
"Are you guys going back to the classroom tomorrow? Do you continue with your strike action? Where do you stand as a union?"

Luke Palacio - National President - BNTU
"We continue our strike action tomorrow because we are not satisfied with the outcome of what has transpired."

Reporter
"Mr. Palacio what was different between this meeting and the last one two weeks ago?"

Luke Palacio - National President - BNTU
"What was different? The difference is it got worse because basically we thought that we would have made some movements today. There were certain issues that we thought we could have moved on to get the prime minister to agree but instead we see that it has gone in a different direction. Case in point we had ask for the removal of the minister of police Senator Hulse. At that meeting the prime minister had indicated to us that if indeed as an outcome of the investigation into the auditor general's special report that if a police investigation needed to be done, he would be prepared to revisit that particular demand. Today he had adamantly said that he's not going to remove Senator Hulse as minister of police despite what has happened."

Daniel Ortiz
"The prime minister in his briefing suggested that he basically has moved a great deal of effort and a great distance in trying to address the 8 demands and to hear you come out here now with the information that the strike continues some in the general public would think the BNTU is being stubborn to continue tomorrow how would you address that?"

Luke Palacio - National President - BNTU
"Well you believe who you want basically but the bottom line remains we have said that these are our demands. We believe that the prime minister could have done better and more importantly than that when we start to look at those individuals and those who might be saying that we are unreasonable they have their reasons for saying that simply because they are enjoying the sweets we are not enjoying."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir at what point does the BNTU assess and say okay we've gone this far, this is becoming a battle for who is more stubborn to give ground. When do you all make that determination?"

Luke Palacio - National President - BNTU
"We determine that day by day."

So that's the final decision – parents, keep your kids at home tomorrow, and on Monday when a demonstration is planned in Belmopan.  We'll keep you posted.

Channel 7


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