Schools in San Pedro closed down yesterday, Tuesday, January 29, 2013, as island teachers joined fellow members of the Belize National Teachers Union in Belmopan in a national demonstration. Thousands of teachers gathered in Belmopan in the national demonstration, this is the first mass mobilization by teachers on the issue of salary adjustments and there is a potential for strike action if they are unable to reach agreement with government.
At around 9:30 a.m. the parade moved off from the Belmopan Comprehensive School, heading for Independence Hill, in the capital city of Belmopan, Cayo. It was massive, as thousands of teachers sang and marched down the road in solidarity and unity of purpose; even the U.D.P. Mayor of Belmopan and retired educator Simeon Lopez came out with his flag to add his support to the movement.
The rally at Independence Hill lasted about three hours during which speeches were delivered by branch representatives and other union members. Their cry was for salary adjustments and respect from the government. Police stood on guard throughout the event, but the demonstration started and ended peacefully. The unions now await a meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday, February 1, 2013. After that meeting, the BNTU will make the decision as to accept the status quo or take strike action. (News Source: Channel 5 Belize and 7 News)