San Pedro Teachers Clashed With Cops
There was also a motorcade on San Pedro, one that organizer Helen Melendez says took a wrong turn right from the start and required a do-over that exceeded the agreed-upon time limit. Here's more courtesy of our friends from the San Pedro Sun.
Helen Melendez, BNTU Rep, Holy Cross Anglican School
"We were actually conducting a peaceful motorcade with the BNTU members of the island in reference to the 10% salary cut that is actually being proposed right now by our current government."
"Our teachers from the island were here, we had to wait for teachers who don't live on the island to come on the island on the boat, our Caye Caulker teachers had to come on the island so we had a little difficulty. However, I asked the teachers who were here on the island to go ahead with the motorcade and I waited for my Caye Caulker teachers. The issue was that I went to the traffic department here in San Pedro like a couple days ago and I gave them the route of the parade, because I explained to them that I do not know the name of the streets, so I spoke to the officer in charge of traffic and I ask him if he was able to help me with the names of the street, he did he wrote it down to me and I provided it to my branch president in Belize City. Now what happened is that as we were in the motorcade I noticed that the route of the parade that they took was not the one that I ask the traffic for. As I mentioned earlier I am not familiar with the names of the streets, so then I explained to the traffic officer at that time along with the police officer who was in charge of the parade and I let them know that this is not the route that I asked for this is not the route that I gave the officer in charge at traffic. And I told them my people are not happy. We are here for the people, so they said that we were going to go again. I wasn't too sure who was leading the motorcade at that point whether it was the police officer or the traffic officer. But they were the ones who actually led then to the actual route of the parade. When we were coming back where the jaguars nightclub use to be we stop there because our attention was called by the officer who was in charge and he told us that we had breached our contract."
"I explained to the officer that we didn't have the fault because I gave them the route that I wanted for the motorcade, at that time I told my members, the BNTU members of the island and Caye Caulker that we had to disperse from the motorcade that was at 10:35. At that point he told me that I had to report to the station which I did, so I spoke to Mr. Noble and I explained the situation to Mr. Noble and I told him that they wanted to hold us liable for five minutes which is not our fault because we were not the ones who made the mistake."
"My members were there with me and we cannot be held accountable for the wrongdoing for the mistakes that someone else did. That's not our fault. My route was written in black and white, not by myself but from the officer who is in charge at the traffic department."
Melendez says that while Teachers have public officers' backs, they don't seem to have theirs, calling this morning's confusion and her subsequent summoning to the police station a retaliation against the efforts of the union.
It's a mindset she says she struggles to understand, explaining that if they are successful, public officers including police officers, also stand to benefit. She also noted that she didn't see one P.S.U. yellow shirt in the Motorcade.