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Aug 7, 2014

Detention of Female Sanitation Workers Unjustified

With an agreement on finances being brokered, and current workers’ issues resolved, the crisis is officially over. But there’s still some unpleasantness hanging over the matter. That stems from the treatment of workers by Police. Prime Minister Barrow claimed ignorance on the lockdown of workers for twelve hours on Monday. But they were – in fact…twenty-two women were crowded into one small cell all day for what amounts to very minor infractions. Ellis told News Five that the treatment of his workers was unjustified, but he is proud of them for standing up for their rights.


Lawrence Ellis, Owner, Belize Maintenance Limited

“It’s very unfortunate what happened you know…and I was really appalled by the way how the Police treated the workers…the slowness…they were in there for twelve hours…from early in the morning to almost nine thirty in the night. And if Ms. Matura and her associates did not assist the Police in processing the workers they would probably have been in there overnight. And then when they went to Court Tuesday they went there for nine o’clock and nobody started processing them until in the afternoon. The prison bus showed up as if to intimidate them as if they were going to jail. Again, because she had other people assist with the processing they did twenty-two…and because the Prime Minister intervened, they did not do the others yesterday. But the process was as though they were trying to intimidate the workers. But I must tell you Mike, and I must tell the public and I must tell my workers publicly that I am really proud of them for standing up for their rights. I know a lot of people will say that I pushed them out there and stuff. My workers know that if it comes to a point where I can’t pay them it’s because I can’t pay them. Nineteen weeks carrying a service without payment is very difficult and I carry it because of the workers. We have good, loyal workers. And they know that, and that’s why when they try to divide and conquer us it doesn’t work. Because all of my workers know that I am fair, I will always respect them, and I will do my best for them all the time.”



Lawrence Ellis

“Would you give us an idea of the mood of the workers at this time? They have gotten some good news, but there is still the indignity of being locked up, of what has happened to them…of the point it had to go to, to get this result. Have you gotten a sense of their mood?”


Lawrence Ellis

“Well they’re happy that they’re coming back to work and I think they’re extremely happy that their services will be taken on by the Belize City Council, but they are still annoyed by the treatment they received from the Police and I don’t want to comment further than that, but they are really not pleased with that treatment.”

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