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Jul 2, 2015

Protest in Orange Walk

The La Inmaculada Credit Union, headquartered in Orange Walk, is one of the largest in the country. It has assets around fifty million and about twenty-one thousand members, but it also has a big problem. On May eighth, its long-time General Manager and institution icon Yolanda Gomez was summarily placed on administrative leave by the Board of Directors and the only explanation since then is that an investigation is taking place. That’s raised an alarm with some shareholders in the LICU who have demanded more by way of information. This morning, to ensure that demand is heard, about twenty-five of them protested in front of the credit union and nearby Central Park, Mike Rudon was there and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning, holding signs with bold statements like – stop greed for power, stop with the witch-hunting now and Mrs. Yoli equals good management, about twenty-five account-holders at the LICU demonstrated to demand an explanation from the Board. Almost two months ago GM Yolanda Gomez was placed on administrative leave, and all that these shareholders have heard since them are unofficial rumours, but no official clarification of anything.

 

Dave Espadas

Dave Espadas, Shareholder in LICU

“We have heard through hearsay, not officially, that Central Bank came in and audited the place. We don’t know what’s going on. We heard that Central Bank has finished their audit and they have hired an external firm to continue to auditing…we don’t know what’s going on. The main concern of this group here is to let the Managing Director come out and tell us what’s going on at the credit union. We are shareholders/owners of this place and we need answers as to what’s going on.”

 

For some of these protesters, it’s not about protecting GM Yolanda Gomez or standing up for her. It’s about getting answers because they have money in the LICU and rumours of those audits have raised concerns about the security of those finances.

 

Dave Espadas

“My philosophy is that if you have a sin, pay for your sins, and if you’re innocent, you’re innocent. So if Ms. Gomez has anything to answer, let her answer for it. But let’s get this thing going. Don’t just keep us in the dark. We need to know what’s going on. If there is a money scam, let us know. We need to know. It’s our money.”

 

On May eighth, the Board of Directors issued a press release, a week after the fact, stating that Yolanda Gomez was being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Since then an AGM scheduled for June sixth was postponed until an unspecified date, and that’s just not cutting it for these long-time members of the union.

 

Antonio Aragon

Antonio Aragon, Member/Owner of LICU

“They have postponed it and they have not given us any reason why. According to them auditing is taking place at the La Inmaculada Credit Union. But it’s been two months. Two months is too much for auditing to be taking place. And Ms. Yoli has not been charged with anything. She has not been informed why she is out. She has just been put on administrative leave. We as owners have the right to know what is going on. It is our credit union.”

 

For some of these persons protesting today, it is about loyalty to a woman who has been with the credit union for twenty-four years. They say under her stewardship the LICU grew from assets of one million dollars to more than fifty-million dollars. They are upset that her name is being smeared without any proof being provided.

 

Salome August

Salome August, Member/Former Employee at LICU

“There’s a lot of negative rumours going around, spreading from the board and from members in the credit union that Ms. Yoli stole money. Where is the proof? You cannot accuse people if you do not have your facts together. We cannot do that. We are Orange Walkeños, we are members, we are people that unite for good. Ms. Yoli gave up twenty-four years of her life for that credit union. I saw that credit union grow, and for them, the Board members, to do that for her is totally unfair. “We need to stand up and remove these people that are causing damage to the credit union, making the reputation of the credit union go down. There are people leaving this institution at the moment, closing their accounts while we worked so hard while I was there with Ms. Yoli. It’s so sad, it’s so sad. People are leaving. The banks are rejoicing because people are leaving. Come on Board members, think of the damage you have done not only to Miss Yoli, but to us, the members, all of us, our homes. Think about that.”

 

There was nobody available at the credit union to respond today, but this small group of shareholders say they will not give up their demands for an explanation. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

News Five has confirmed that auditors have gone into the LICU, and sources there tell us that serious irregularities have been discovered, though they were reluctant to disclose if those irregularities are procedural or financial in nature.

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3 Responses for “Protest in Orange Walk”

  1. Rod says:

    I say tha good fu unu vote for udp again lone duncy people Ina orange walk the only town that voted for udp well unu wa get whey unu deserve

  2. Disappointed at GOB says:

    There goes another political victim.

  3. Watch It! says:

    Memba Mount Carmel Credit Union in Benque………………shareholders never did
    get back their money to this day and Erwin Contreras still di run tings. This
    Central Bank is as corrupt as the government it serves. Pull out unu money frah
    LICU and take it to a safe bank.

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