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Nadia Caliz defeats Ifasina Efunyemi for post of president of Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU)

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2024. 9:26 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: For the third time in as many years, the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) has elected a new leader. She is Nadia Caliz, a veteran member and organizer based in the Stann Creek District.

The Union’s annual National Convention took place starting on Wednesday in Belmopan at Our Lady of Guadalupe High School, being traditionally held in the week after Easter each year.

Caliz took 445 votes of 560 over fellow Stann Creek resident Ifasina Efunyemi, who lost out to Ruth Shoman at last year’s convention. Shoman ultimately resigned after unsavory facts about her past and suggestions that she was misleading to Union management about her status swirled in the months before and after she claimed the mantle from long-time leader Elena Smith.

Caliz told reporters after polls were closed but before the counting of votes, “I have been paying attention to the direction that our Union has been taking, and that is not the BNTU I joined. And I believe that those of us who are stalwarts, who understand what BNTU represents to this country, we need it to come back and put us back on the platform where we were. And, being a member for 30 years and serving as rep, school rep, vice president, member of council, being in the forefront of many demonstrations, I have the experience. So I said, let me come forward. I said let me come forward and offer myself and see if they would accept me as their president.

They now have, and she formally succeeds acting President Jorge Mejia in June. The Union also voted on changes to its Constitution.

 

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