Headline — 01 February 2013 — by Miriam Longsworth
Saldivar to make country tour to “set teachers straight”

Minister of National Security John Saldivar announced today, Thursday, on Wave Radio’s talk show “Fus ting da mawnin,” that if after the meeting on Friday, February 1, with the Prime Minister and the negotiating teams in Belmopan, the teachers and public officers insist on saying that the government can afford to give a salary increase at this time, he will take matters into his own hands and make a countrywide tour to personally reiterate the government’s position.

“If they are not able to reach a satisfactory conclusion tomorrow Fonso, I will travel this country with government’s position. I am telling you from now. So Mr. Palacio if you want call it union busting you can call it weh you want. But I am going to travel the entirety of this country, meeting with teachers. And if they no want come da meeting, I gwine to their house. I will find a way to meet them. So they know the facts of my government’s position is, what we are offering, because these leaders have a political agenda. I like it when they have a political agenda because it brings them in my arena. Because my arena is politics. And so if they think they can play politics better than me then we will get in there and rumble. We wah rumble. They want to shape people’s minds against my government in a certain way. Well I gwine out deh go counter that. And as soon as I hear the outcome of the meeting tomorrow.”

To recap Saldivar’s position in this matter, last week the Minister was given permission by the Ministry of Education to cancel afternoon classes and call a meeting with the teachers in Belmopan to address the salary adjustment matter.

Members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union were offended by Saldivar’s request and referred to his actions as “union busting.” The BNTU and their negotiating team issued a letter to the teachers advising them to either boycott the meeting and stay home, or report to work that day.

Saldivar said that the union’s claim was false and that he called the meeting because he wanted to discuss the matter with his “constituents.”

The Minister said that over 50 teachers attended the meeting.

Saldivar is now saying that he wants a meeting with the teachers throughout the country. Does that mean that the entire country has become a part of his “constituency?” As the Minister of National Security, how does this financial issue fall under his ministry’s agenda?

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