With the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) beginning its– rally to support teachers’ salary adjustments and against other pressing national issues in the North last week, opinion has been divided about the purpose and necessity of their action.
The Government has expressed its disapproval while refusing to appear vindictive by withholding salaries etcetera and according to its leader Francis Fonseca, the PUP has met with and supports the teachers’ stance. He says, however, that the party has been asked not to get directly involved.
“Absolutely. It’s not about join all these people, but leading our own fight, we are leading our support for all of these protests. We have been in contact with all of these individuals, but we respect them. I have sat down and talked to the Belize Teachers Union, for example, and I have made it very clear to them that the People’s United Party supports the teachers; we support their right to be there first of all, which the government does not,. But apart from that, we support their right to an immediate increase in salary which is long overdue; the last increase came under the People’s United Party government (that I remember because I was the Minister of Education at the time) they want to keep this protest as non political as possible. So, we have said to our supporters who want to support, go out and support them. Put on your green shirts”.
As for the party’s own plans for mass action, Fonseca says the PUP is taking it slow.