This morning representatives of the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) met with the press in Belize City. The Union has been rallying its membership across the country in the month of January to the delight of some and the chagrin of others, especially the Government. But according to Belize Branch President Kathleen Flowers, their mission, at least this part of it, has been accomplished.
“Teachers saw it fit enough that it is time for our country to be champion; for somebody to start speaking. We called it “our little engine revving. WE saw ourselves as the engine that could say something, so that the big locomotive could start moving. That is the reason we took to the streets, regardless of the names we have been called; regardless if we call names because we have to start to rebuff. But that is not the basis of what we are about. What we are about my brothers and sisters and the entire nation of Belize is security of payer, security of our nation, securing this country, so that our children have something to look forward to our children’s children”.
As for the question of intimidation, Flowers says no power is greater than that of Belizeans united.
Mrs. Kathleen Flowers: “Of course, the people who are antagonists just because of the structure where you have protagonists and antagonists (We are not trying to get no one to antagonize) and those who are not in support in our cause, are going to play down on our numbers and try to play that number’s game. We know how many shirts we distributed and we know how many bodies were wearing those shirts. So when you hear us talking about these figures is because of the count that we did. Yes, the truth is there are some teachers that received shirts but did not come out, but they wore their shirts to school that day and they were in solidarity that day. The come out matter for tem, has to do with a personal conviction that they may not have arrived at yet. They are believing in the cause enough to be a part of it; what is wrong here is that the general concept that we as a people have not bought into the idea yet, that the power of the people is greater than the power that be for the people in power”.
The national President of the Union Mr. Luke Palacio says the fight will continue.
“As we traveled with the rallies, the rally was for us to stop corruption in this country and we see again certain actions taken; we see for instance where the government has decided that the Board of the Belize Airport Authority was dismissed or were asked to resign. Yet, the person who came to prominence as a result of what was going on with the money at the Airport Authority. He is still sitting at the House of Representatives, has not been punished day at all. So, we don’t believe that we want to see bad names be put on big cut nose as it relates to corruption in this country. So, we believe that corruption is still very much alive. We need to address it because we are not leaving Belize worst than we found it”.
The BNTU claims that between 80 and 90% of its membership attended the rallies in Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize City, San Ignacio, Dangriga and Punta Gorda, and more new members are signing up than ever before.