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DPM Faber and BNTU bump heads

Posted: Friday, November 3, 2017. 11:44 am CST.


By BBN Staff: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Patrick Faber and Belize National Trade Union (BNTU) President Elena Smith bumped heads yesterday with Faber suggesting Smith has neglected her duties, while Smith warned Faber not to pick a fight he wouldn’t win.

Faber told the media at an event yesterday that he was disappointed with the BNTU for following up on the opposition’s allegation that four UDP ministers boycotted a Public Accounts Committee (PAC), at which Auditor General Dorothy Bradley was expected to appear. Faber explained that three ministers were unable to make it because of the current pink eye outbreak and said the other had a flu.

Faber also criticized the Union for retaining the legal counsel of PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay. He accused the BNTU of being wrapped up with the opposition and suggested that the BNTU had abandoned its duties on the Teaching Services Commission (TSC) because of a political agenda.

“…Because their president is a senator, a member of the National Assembly, that person now cannot fill the seat on the TSC. And they prefer to hold on to the national spotlight as opposed to taking on their primary role of looking out for the services of teachers,” Faber said of the BNTU.

Smith, during an interview with Channel 5 News, fired back at Faber saying: “I would like to remind the Minister that in 2005 when we were out there fighting, he was out there along with us. And he did not accuse us back then that we were wrapped up with the Opposition at the time.” Smith said if Faber wants a fight with the BNTU, the union is up for it.

She also explained than when she was informed that she was unable to sit on the TSC because of her status as a member of the National Assembly, the union quickly selected a replacement.

“How can my removal from the Commission, based on a rule, be reflective of the BNTU not looking out for the benefit of our teachers or not working for our teachers? Those have to be the words of a fool. They can’t be anything else,” Smith said of Faber’s comments.


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