The Belize National Teacher’s Union has also spoken on the Statutory instrument saying they are calling on GOB to rescind it. At a press conference on Monday evening, BNTU president says they are calling off regular activities for Teacher’s Day which is to be celebrated this coming Friday and instead will be taking to the streets. The rally is in line with its “Stand Up for Belize Campaign” which was launched April 15 in Benque.
Luke Palacio, BNTU President: The Belize National Teachers Union, at its council of management meeting held on Saturday, decided that instead of celebrating our Teachers Day in the manner that we had originally planned, we are going to continue this Stand Up for Belize Campaign with a rally here in Belize City on Friday, March thirteenth. Our intention of course is to also get the government to rescind immediately the SI that speaks to the Public Safety Act. We believe very strongly after much discussion that that law that was passed is unconstitutional and it really deprives the Belizean people, man, woman and child from moving around in this country as freely as they are entitled to. So therefore, the call goes out and we’ve heard other organizations, other bodies insist on the government to rescind this SI. Of course, if it is not done then our council will have to reengage and determine what other course of action we will take
Palacio says that Belizeans want to see acts that go beyond the usual rhetoric. He added that teachers want the nation to see that teachers are willing to sacrifice an important day, “Teacher’s day” , for the sake of this most important issue.
Luke Palacio, BNTU President: We want the Belizean public to see this act of the teachers, the professionals of this country, as one which goes beyond the usual rhetoric that teachers only fight and stand up when they want salary adjustment or they are being fired and that type of thing. This is a national issue, we’ve called and our council has agreed that this time, instead of celebrating Teachers Day the way we usually do, and let me make it absolutely clear, the discussion was lengthy and heated because a number of our branches have already had plans as to what they would have been doing for Teachers Day. But nonetheless, they have agreed by the majority to come to Belize City for this rally that we intend to have on Friday. We cannot be saying to our children in the classroom that Belize is 8,867sqmiles, yet we’re being told because of an SI you cannot go to a certain part of the country. When our students ask us in classrooms now, “Where does Belize begin and where does it end?” Right now we are in limbo, and we believe that the teachers, and we also believe that students, particularly students at the tertiary level institutions need to start to engage themselves even more as it comes to discussing this Belize Guatemala issues.
The BNTU will also be engaging in the sensitization of the public on the matter of the ICJ by hosting public forums across the country
Luke Palacio, BNTU President: We also need to sensitize the Belizean people, along with the members and teachers of this country, members of the union, about the matter of the ICJ. The ICJ has become a political football. The ICJ issue has Belizeans confused, and we don’t really know what will be the outcome. Of course there are some tell tale signs but that’s as far as it goes, and so the BNTU has agreed to launch a nationwide education forum in all 6 districts of Belize beginning next week.
Palacio says that if after Friday’s event the Government still refuses to rescind the infamous SI, the BNTU executive will meet again to decide on the next action that they will take.