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‘Concerned Members’ of Teachers Union file petition against new President Ruth Shoman

Posted: Sunday, July 2, 2023. 5:25 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A statement from unnamed “concerned members of the Belize National Teachers Union” (BNTU) appears to aim to kill the newborn presidency of Ruth Shoman, elected in April, in its infancy.

The statement is in support of a petition against the President and intention to file a court case for judicial review of the issue.

Shoman was elected by majority over two other candidates at the Annual BNTU convention in Orange Walk Town in April, but the statement claims members were at that time not aware of certain “disqualifying factors” against Shoman’s candidacy.

The first which has been aired in public is the charge of embezzlement for which she faced criminal charges and was ordered to repay compensation of more than 80 thousand dollars, which in the writers’ view calls into question her ethical and professional conduct bonafides.

The other and arguably more serious charge is the question of her very membership in the Union.

Rule III (A)(1) of the Union Constitution states, “Members shall consist of all persons so accepted and designated by the Union and shall be classified as follows: (a) (i) Teachers in active service in a public or private educational institution approved by the Union.”

On June 12 at a special meeting of the BNTU Council of Management, Shoman asserted that she was in active service and employed “by the United States Department of State as a Facilitator,” but as of a follow-up meeting on June 24 she had yet to present – the writers say she “refuses” – to submit documentation to support this in violation of Rule III (A) (1).

Rule III (A)(4)(b) as quoted by the writers states that, “After due process, the Union, by decision of Council, may cancel the membership of persons who (i) violate the ethical and professional code laid down by the Union; or (ii) are convicted of criminal offenses or grave professional misconduct,” both of which they say Shoman has failed.

With efforts to resolve the matter on the Council going nowhere, the dissenters are stepping up their campaign against Shoman, who took office on July 1 and succeeds Senator Elena Smith.

The writers ask BNTU members who
understand the gravity of this situation to sign the petition which can be found here.

 

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