BELMOPAN, Thurs. Mar. 22, 2018– The most powerful union in the country, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), flexed its muscles this morning when hundreds of teachers descended on Belmopan for an anti-crime rally which got underway shortly after 9:00 a.m., when teachers, decked out in their lime green T-shirts with the logo “Teachas got yu back” emblazoned on the back, paraded from Belmopan Comprehensive High School, around the ring road, to the Civic Center, where the rally got underway.
BNTU National President, Hon. Senator Elena Smith and Vice President Luke Palacio led the parade in which many teachers carried placards decrying the violence against women and children.
After the march, Hon. Smith spoke to the media. When asked if she was happy with the turnout of teachers, she replied that considering what had happened over the past two days, “We are happy with what we have.”
“As we are saying and continue to say, crime and violence is everybody’s business,” Hon. Smith said, “so this is not about BNTU; this about BNTU taking a stance, and showing our solidarity and support and telling the entire country that we are willing to join forces, to ensure that we have this crime under control.”
Hon. Smith added, “These children look up to our teachers, so we must be the ones to show them the way. If we are going to be teaching them, then we not only teach them in the classroom, we teach them by our actions. This is one way of teaching them by showing them that as citizens of this country, we must not tolerate nonsense and we must stand up against things that are not right.”
The union leader said that the BNTU will be joining forces with any other group that is serious about the crime situation.
She was also asked to for her reaction to a social media post on Facebook by newly appointed Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, who said that she is using the presidency of the BNTU to bully others.
Saldivar’s remark came as a reaction to Hon. Smith’s comment on Tuesday that she was disappointed that the Prime Minister had appointed him to head the powerful Ministry of National Security.
In the post, Saldivar warned Hon. Smith about her “glass window.”
“If you look at Minister Saldivar and you look at me, who would be the bully? Not me, for sure. But I am not going to waste my time and dwell on anything that Minister Saldivar said because what he should be doing is what I am doing right now, and what our teachers are doing right now.
“So they speak about lying down; we are standing up. We have always been standing up and we will continue to stand up. So anybody out there who has any sense of what is going on will see that that is just a personal attack to deflect from what we are doing today. And I am not going to follow him up. He can go low; we are going to go high, as high as we can go,” Hon. Smith replied.