COLA and Raymond Rivers Lend Moral Support to BNTU
Today’s convention of the B.N.T.U. saw an appearance from two Belize City activists, Geovannie Brackett of COLA and Raymond Rivers. The Union has had a cordial, if arms’ length, relationship with Brackett’s organization. But while reporting that COLA has a particular preference, Brackett told us that their primary function in San Roman was to observe for the reported signs of political interference that would taint a free and fair election.
Geovannie Brackett, President, C.O.L.A.
“We feel that Government shouldn’t interfere within the union’s elections; not even C.O.L.A. wanted to have much say and interference in the election; many of us, the majority of us, have their individual people that they supported, but reliable reports are that Minister Faber had probably met with a few teachers to sway support – I mean that is the report that came to us, and that there are other political leaders that are interfering in this election; so we decided, Raymond Rivers and I, to come up here to give our support for democracy, for free election, and not to say – individually and most of my members that I have spoken to support Elena Smith, but more than that C.O.L.A. supports a free election, one that is not decided by political interference.”
Raymond Rivers, Stevedore/Activist
“What I notice is that the Government is really pushing union-busting in all the unions: NTUCB, B.T.L., Christian Workers’ Union, and union is the third party of this country, brother. And if we lose unions tin this country, the Government will bring full dictatorship on us; so I am here supporting the teachers, making sure that all the process goes good, and we don’t see any money passing around and all these stuff because we heard that the Minister of Education would be passing out money for teachers to buy votes so I am here to videotape the stuff and give it live to my people on my channel that I have on Facebook.”
“But are you satisfied so far that there’s been none of that going on?”
“Yes, it’s all fair as I can see, it’s all in order and the election is going smoothly, but behind the scenes like everybody is saying, the Government of Belize is orchestrating to buy this election – but I am not seeing it yet, and I hope we have a good day today.”
Reports suggested that up to four hundred more teachers than were present on Wednesday were bused in strictly to vote. As Brackett noted, COLA is comfortable and familiar with Smith and happy to endorse her because she has worked with them, but he also expressed interest in working either of the other candidates should they win.