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Apr 29, 2005

P.M. comments on B.T.L. and union strikes

Story PictureAnd in all the confusion, what was lost was the reason for everyone being in Belmopan in the first place: an appearance by Prime Minister Said Musa. Here’s what he had to say about negotiations with the B.T.L. workers and other unions.

Prime Minister Said Musa
?And in the past few days those negotiations have stalled as a result of the union not responding to the calls of our negotiators for meeting. Only this morning, however, were our negotiators able to meet with the B.T.L. union representatives and their attorney and we have presented them with a serious proposal and agreed to their demand for full disclosure of all documents they required. I must also tell you that the N.T.U.C.B. has been avoiding follow-up meetings to implement the February eleventh agreement. Do you think it is right for the unions to sign an agreement with Government, and even as government is doing everything possible to fulfil that agreement call for the resignation of that government? Is there no room for good faith practices in our political culture? Where will this lead us if we pursue such tactics? You must understand that the events of the past few weeks have caused serious damage to our economy and to the future of our society. I need not go into the details here today. You know that government did everything possible to meet the concerns of workers, agreeing to grant full salary increases without any retrenchment and to reduce the taxes originally passed by the House, thereby putting in jeopardy its ability to carry out essential social and infrastructural services needed to reduce poverty and provide a better standard of living for our people.?

In related news, it is still not clear just where things stand with regard to the fifty thousand dollar a day fine for contempt of the U.S. District Court in Miami. According to the attorneys representing the Belize government in that case, despite several requests for a hearing to determine when and if the fines cease, Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages has yet to respond. Best guess is that the clock stopped ticking when G.O.B. agreed to attend a Jeffrey Prosser chaired board meeting scheduled for April eighteenth. That would put the fine at somewhere between nine hundred thousand and a million U.S. dollars, depending on how you do the math. Latest rumours put the long awaited board meeting sometime next week.

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