The Ministry of Education has been purchasing readers and work books from BRC Printing Ltd since 2009. Over the years, BRC readers have grown into household names.
Every year, as part of an unsigned agreement, the Ministry of Education sends a request for a quotation for textbooks to BRC Printing Ltd, who then sends a quote and thereafter the Ministry of Education places its order with BRC.
Last year was no different. The Ministry submitted its request in January and BRC followed up with a quote in the sum of over $463 thousand dollars. Then, according to BRC executives, based on the practice developed over time and the legitimate expectation that the Ministry would proceed to purchase its books, BRC began production of the said books.
In June of that same year however, the Ministry of Education submitted an agreement to purchase books in the sum of $23 thousand dollars, a hefty cut from the original $463 thousand final revised order for 2014.
In July 2014, we spoke to Minister Patrick Faber who explained the reason for the hefty cut. Here is that interview.
“The matter with the BRC textbooks is that we’re not purchasing this year, because we have an abundance of the books, but also we’ve been trying to indicate to the publisher that he must make the changes in the textbooks, according to what the Ministry prescribes, and not according to what he believes, and others believe, are best for education.
We are a customer and we buy what it is we see to be effective. The issue has been that Deacon Call and BRC Publishing want to dictate to the Ministry what should be in these books. We’re a customer. We can choose whether or not we’re going to buy from you.”
Owner of BRC Printing Ltd, Deacon Cal, wrote a statement to us explaining his position on the matter. He said,“I am afraid that the content and format that they want would not be in the best interest of helping the non-privileged learn to read. For two years, I tried to communicate BRC’s reasons for the content and format of BRC’s books to the Ministry. The letters have never been acknowledged. I, BRC, will not lessen the opportunity for the non-privileged children to learn to read just to satisfy Advisors that do not seem to be aware of the difficulties children and teachers face.”
An affidavit has since been filed against the Ministry of Education Youth And Sports, to reverse their decision on the purchase order of BRC readers.
The claimants are being represented by Michel Chebat and the defendant, in this case the Ministry of Education, is being represented by the Attorney General.
The case will be heard before the Supreme Court in Belize City on Wednesday January 21st.