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Dec 28, 2016

Acting Prez Promises More from N.T.U.C.B. in 2017

Jacqueline Willoughby-Sanchez

Willoughby told us that she is eligible to run for the presidency in her own right, and is “praying” over a decision on whether to do so. But whoever does ultimately take over the presidency of the Congress inherits an organization with a significant voice in the affairs of the nation. They also, some believe, have to deal with significant infighting within the organization. The Acting President explained that this is a result of natural disagreement rather than anything specific. She also made commitments to a greater presence for the Congress in the discussion of national affairs in 2017 and beyond.

 

Jacqueline Willoughby, Acting President, N.T.U.C.B.

“Every organization have disagreements. Disagreements are not quarrels; disagreements are mere conflicts that we must learn how [to work through] and go forward. There are some differences in opinion in how things are done; but you see, re-education is important, because when you understand that you don’t jump up – you don’t just jump up and run like fools rushing, you will understand how the trade union process operates. I don’t know what you have been seeing in Belize for the time I wasn’t here; but I can assure you that being back around the table and what I have observed, is there is a good amount of willing hearts around the table, but we certainly need to do some kind of re-education to help our brothers and sisters as we move along.”

 

Reporter

“Apart from the election, what was discussed at the A.G.M. generally?”

 

Jacqueline Willoughby

“The different issues, the matter of UNCAC; the matter of OSH; the matter of where we are as a Congress, where we want to go, evaluation – the usual A.G.M. matters were discussed.”

 

Reporter

“Were there any resolutions or other motions tabled in regard to that?”

 

Jacqueline Willoughby

“There were several resolutions tabled. One of them – the key one, I would suggest – is how we address social issues more timely; how we influence policies with Government more timely, how we assist our affiliates to move forward, so that the Congress can move forward as a body, and how we treat with the business of the Congress.”

 

Reporter

“So going into 2017, once this matter with the election of a President is resolved, and even before that, what will be the main focuses of the Trade Union Congress?”

 

Jacqueline Willoughby

“Certainly you will see a re-education process, because we have got to make sure that our affiliates are where they need to be, so that we can move as a unified body. You will certainly see more presence of the Trade Union Congress in terms of the social issues. Now just because you don’t see us on T.V. every time, shouting and screaming, is not an indication that we are not working. Because we are; we are influencing policies in the background, and it’s not everything you need to put on television.”

 

Elena Smith remains Senator representing the trade unions and civil society; that post and others on various boards will be subject to review by the Congress. Willoughby-Sanchez elected to forgo comment on other hot button issues for the unions, like negotiations with the Government on the forthcoming final salary adjustment and interest which was instrumental in ending the Belize National Teachers’ Union’s eleven-day strike, and their current battle with the Ministry of Education on making up lost class time due to that strike.

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