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Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2020. 8:43 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is holding ongoing meetings with officials of the government of Belize to address the economic and academic fallouts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine measures.

Speaking to the membership today, BNTU President Elena Smith, explained that the BNTU was a part of a team of three unions that met with Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, on proposals for cost-saving measures that the government can implement to help cope with the economic impact. Smith noted that one of the proposals was that teachers and public officers would forgo their annual increments making that funds available for GOB to allocate to other areas of importance.

She said that the union made a counter proposal that if the increments were to be deferred, teachers would be compensated at some point down the road but stressed that she could not share the details of the proposal.

“All of us will have to do our part to assist our country. This is beyond party politics. This is beyond the government. It’s about our people and our country,” Smith said.

Smith also noted that the BNTU has  a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education today, to discuss proposals on dealing with the effects the countrywide shutdown has had on the academic year, particularly with regards to the PSE, CXC, and CSEC examinations.

Speaking on concerns that teachers might not get paid after the month of April, Smith said that the FinSec and GOB have committed that all will be done in their power to ensure that teachers and public officers continue to be paid and that every effort will be made to avoid retrenchment in this difficult economic time.

 

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