Posted: Wednesday, October 18, 2017. 10:28 am CST.
By Zoila Palma: Prime Minister Dean Barrow has written back to the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) providing them with updates on the demands they made last year and calling them out for what he called “disrespect”.
The BNTU made several demands last year when they decided to put their 11 day strike on hold.
Barrow, in a letter to the BNTU yesterday, responded saying the union was disrespectful in making a letter sent to him on September 15 public. “It was written in a peremptory, demanding and uncivil fashion,” Barrow stated.
Barrow began by stating that the Senate select committee is established and has been functioning.
In relation to the Danny Mason investigation, Barrow said that the Belize Police Department brought forth charges of murder against him.
“The international investigation that you wanted could not proceed without a proper terms of reference, something you were never able to finalize with the AG. Also, we rejected from the start your argument that Minister Godwin Hulse was conflicted as Police Minister. Still, as is common knowledge, there have been two changes of Police Ministers though the changes had nothing to do with your position,” Barrow told the union.
He explained that in relation to the Cost Savings Committee, it is still in existence and working on a continuing, if intermittent, basis.
Barrow told the union that the Integrity Commission and the 13th Senator have since been appointed, and the UNCAC signed. The Public Accounts Committee not too long ago held a meeting and are to hold more soon, he noted.
“ Amendment to the Social Security Act is not, I repeat, an issue exclusive to the BNTU. Indeed, the substance of the amendment to be legislated was a matter of consensus among GOB, you, the PSU and APSSM. It was also approved by the NTUCB. But I had asked the Joint Unions Negotiating Team to provide me with draft language so that I could be sure that we are all completely on the same page before going to Parliament. I am yet to receive that draft,” Barrow explained.
In respect of BNTU’s Proposal 22, Barrow said that it was a matter for Joint Staff. And there, the union has not been able to win support for their Proposal from either PSU, APSSM or GOB, he added.
Barrow said that the Unions have been invited to be involved in the Tax Reform process.
“You, no doubt as part of a quid pro quo when you were seeking support for your campaign from the BCCI, agreed that the OSH Bill could not proceed until negotiations take place between you and the Chamber. I had expected that you would proceed with those negotiations under the umbrella of the NTUCB, since again the OSH Bill is not the special preserve of the BNTU. But it is now a year later and I have heard not a peep about any negotiations having commenced. I am therefore in the dark about where we are with this and, as with the Social Security Amendment, the ball remains in your court,” he told the union.
The letter was copied to the Public Service Union, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers.
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