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Aug 24, 2015

I.L.O. Facilitates Workshop in Belize City

A national bipartite workshop facilitated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) was held today at the Radisson as a part of a series of meetings held across CARIFORUM member states by way of a three year project funded by the European Union. The focus of the project seeks to build capacity within regional employers’ and workers’ organizations, so that they can participate effectively in regional policy development and integration processes to effectively fulfill their obligations under the Social Aspects Chapter of the Economic Partnership Agreement. Today, Belize got the opportunity to share its views and experiences. We spoke with two of the local presenters.


Marvin Mora

Marvin Mora, President, BEWU

“Chamber of Commerce, National Trade Union Congress and Civil Society Groups at large as a whole have been logging behind. It is not the doing of the Chamber, or the Unions or Civil Society, it is as a result that for the most part we have not been engaged in the policy making decisions in regards to the CSME and other bi-lateral agreements that the country has engaged itself into. So, that puts us in the back-pedaling mode.  In Belize we have a lot of laws that deal with Trade Union and the right to belong to trade union, freedom of association and so forth and there may be one or two employers who are not aware of these laws. They may not be aware of the impacts of these laws within the context of their own business and how they ought to react to situation where the employees want to form a union, which is perfectly legal and nothing is wrong with that. But we have situations where employers do not want to adhere to the laws which are part of our country’s laws. What we want is more communication, more dialogue, so that everybody knows what to do. You have to think regionally now, for example, if you have a skill as a worker that may be worth so much money here in Belize, chances are that in the Caribbean that very same skill may be worth two times more than what it is worth in Belize. So, you should be aware of that kind of opportunity. And that is what this forum is trying to establish. How mechanisms will be put in place and what can do to contribute to that policy making so that at the end of the day, all the workers of this country can have access to that information.”


Arturo Vasquez

Andrea Polanco

“From the Chamber of Commerce perspective, what are some of the challenges that employers and employees in this region face, particularly in Belize?”


Arturo Vasquez, President, BCCI

“In my opening remarks what I mentioned is that despite the educational policies that we have, that sometimes the skills that some of the employers require are not normally available in Belize. I made particular emphasis in the area of vocational training where the ITVETs are concerned because there is quite a bit of skill that is lacking and the Chamber doesn’t think that the vocational and technical training aspect of Belize’s training environment establishments are in proper places. Some time ago you’ll remember that we had the Belize Technical College and all of this have really gone on the way side. ITVET is really trying to hold up but there is still quite a bit lacking in that area and most of the times employers have to get skills from outside.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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