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Education Minister Speaks on Shoman’s Abrupt Departure

Sep 1, 2023

Education Minister Speaks on Shoman’s Abrupt Departure

Earlier today, the Office of the National Secretary of the Belize National Teachers Union formally acknowledged receipt of Shoman’s letter of resignation.  While the National Secretary, Bay Rivas, began by recognizing Shoman’s contributions to the union, he also responded to several points raised in her letter.  Rivas goes on to say, “the well-being of our members and the unity of our organization are of utmost importance, and I hope that we can learn from these experiences to ensure a more harmonious and productive future for the B.N.T.U.”  This afternoon, when we caught up with Education Minister Francis Fonseca, we sought a reaction to the latest development in the union.

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

“I am very sorry to see Ms. Shoman go.  I think, she has served the union for many, many, many years as a strong advocate for teachers, you know.  But I suppose, given the unrelenting pressure on her, she may have chosen, for personal reasons, to step aside.  You know, our work continues at the Ministry of Education with the Belize National Teachers Union and obviously we will await any decisions that they make about the future leadership of the union and we stand prepared and ready to work with the new president.  But certainly, it’s disappointing to me that a good, in my view, a good leader who has always been at the table, that’s why I found it very strange that these things came to light because Mrs. Shoman is no stranger to the BNTU table.  She has always been at the table.  I’ve been Minister of Education, as you know, some twenty years ago and she was there at the table then and she’s there now.  So, we wish her well. We had very good meetings, I think we had, over those four months or so we had at least two meetings with the ministry directly, but we also had, as you pointed out, other meetings which she participated in with the JUNT and all of those meetings were very productive.  In the last meeting, we had with the BNTU and the Ministry of Education, I think we resolved many of the outstanding issues regarding the CBA which has been pending for almost fifteen years.”