The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) today, through a press release, expressed a need for Government, the Opposition and our social partners to come together to address the extremely serious "escalating wave of violent crimes and social breakdowns plaguing our country," saying that we are "in crisis," and "on the brink."

The BNTU says it is appalled at the "daily and weekly reports of assaults, jackings, home-invasions, vandalism and other criminal activities, including on our elderly and young students and shamefully, on our churches and schools," and it "condemns to the highest degree, the incidences of gruesome murders of our young, innocent and promising children and youth such as Jasmine Lowe, Daniel Matura, Joshua Abraham and others."

Mentioning the "corruption at all levels, and high rates of poverty and unemployment," the BNTU adds that "the wrong policies of the WTO and IMF, have added to our own failed efforts and policies."

The Union's Executive Secretary, George Frazer, looks a little closer to home when assessing our problems - and the solution to them, in a word, is "discipline."

He told us tonight that it is time to "get the family structure back in place." There has been an abundance of single-parent and abandoned homes, which in turn has contributed to our various social problems, including crime, he said.

"We want to live like the Joneses. We have become a consumer people; we see too much on TV and want it, and end up living above our means. It is time we do more planting and eating our own produce, and stick to that, rather than wanting everything we see on TV," Frazer said.

Frazer called for "skills training" for our unemployed youth who otherwise are forced to turn to a life of crime as a result of their lifestyle.

He also had some tough words for our leaders. "There is too much corruption, too much politics� our politicians need to work for the people. The poor and needy must be first, not the hustler and the greedy. We have got to be disciplined; tighten your belt, come together and work together as a people and stop all this selfishness and greed."

The former educator called on parents with children in school, saying that they should support their school's initiatives and tend to their children's needs, rather than waste money on gambling, Lotto and other "craziness."