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May 18, 2017

COLA Frowns on Eldred Neal and Marvin Mora

Eldred Neal

COLA has broken a lengthy radio silence with a pair of press releases. The first condemns the remarks of President of the Public Service Union, Eldred Neal, and general secretary of the Belize Energy Workers’ Union and former president of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Marvin Mora. Speaking with News Five today, President Geovannie Brackett called on both men to resign and said they could no longer speak for their fellow workers. Brackett told us that Mora, who he considers a friend and colleague, let him down by not appearing to stand up to Neal. As for Neal, Brackett considers this the opening salvo of a battle for the soul of the trade union movement – pitting activists against those who are considered to be appeasing the Government.

 

Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“In the release we questioned the apparent abandonment of the P.S.U. in helping the B.N.T.U., and we don’t want to speculate but we have to ask now: is it because Mr. Luke Palacio is a Garifuna why there were some issues there? Maybe not. But the remarks made by Mr. Neal are very derogatory and it is very rude and disrespectful to the Garifuna people and we have to denounce it. And we want to acknowledge that the Garifuna people have made great contributions to our society, our history and our economy – they are a very great people. And by no means we should be, in this modern time, using racist comments.  For far too long, some of the leadership in these unions have been compromised and have not been doing their job in advocating for strong labour force laws, they have not done much to advance the cause of the labour unions. If you can remember, there have been instances where COLA has had to make statements on behalf of public servants. And we are not unions. And so Mr. Neal has a mandate and he represents Garifuna; he represents people from across the Union. So if he is not doing his job, the nine people of his Council who have written that letter, feels very different from what he feels. And I think there is a wider, larger event to uproot members of the Unions in leadership who are not aggressively and even adequately advocating on behalf of the Union. We believe that both gentlemen should face disciplinary action; both men should resign. Both men have not given adequate explanation. I think that Mr. Mora’s statements may not have been as vociferous as Mr. Neal, but as we said in the statement, we were hoping that what Mr. Mora would have done in that conversation was to denounce some of those statements.”

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