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Belize National Teachers Union calls on PM to “retract harmful remarks about teachers”

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2023. 11:47 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) has issued a statement in response to recent comments made by Prime Minister John Briceno during an appearance on “Open Your Eyes”.

“In response to a question regarding a statement contained in a BNTU internal memorandum circulated to members, the Prime Minister made several concerning remarks about the Union and the teaching profession.

The BNTU clarifies that the statement in question, which employed the phrase “fattened-two- foot pigs,” was a deliberate and appropriate literary reference. As indicated by the use of quotation marks, it was a direct allusion to the satirical novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. This classic work serves as a powerful critique of social inequalities and the exploitation of the masses by those in power,” the BNTU explained.

The BNTU says that it firmly believes “fattened-two-foot pigs” reference aptly mirrors the current situation in Belize where there is “a stark contrast between the increasing wealth and privileges enjoyed by government officials and the daily struggles of ordinary citizens, including dedicated educators who face stagnant wages and inadequate resources. This widening gap in socio-economic realities is a cause for serious concern and demands immediate attention.”

The BNTU said that it deplores the Prime Minister’s “dismissive” and “disrespectful” response towards the Union and the teaching profession.

“His sweeping statement implying that teachers are not “teaching properly” is unfounded and deeply offensive. It undermines the dedication and hard work of educators who strive to provide quality education to Belizean youths despite facing numerous challenges,” the BNTU added.

In addition, the BNTU urged the Prime Minister to engage in constructive dialogue based on objective data and evidence.

The BNTU further called on the Prime Minister to acknowledge the clear literary reference and apologize for any misinterpretations and retract his harmful remarks about teachers and acknowledge their invaluable contributions to society.

The union also urged PM Briceno to commit to transparent and data-driven solutions through genuine collaboration with the BNTU and other stakeholders.

“We believe that through open communication, mutual respect, and a commitment to evidence-based solutions, we can work together to create a more equitable and prosperous future for Belize, where both educators and students can thrive,” the union asserted.

 

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