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May 19, 2017

P.S.U. Suspends President Eldred Neal

Edmund Zuniga Jr.

Career public officer Eldred Neal has been suspended as President of the Public Service Union, following disparaging remarks he made against the Garifuna community, which was recorded back in March.  This morning, a special meeting was held at the P.S.U.’s Hilltop headquarters to discuss a letter that was endorsed by nine members of the Council of Management.  That letter, dated May sixth, called for Neal’s resignation.  Meeting this morning were eleven of seventeen members; five executives, including Neal, were absent.  The decision was to suspend Neal with immediate effect until August when the annual general meeting takes place. Since the remarks became public, executive members of the union were calling for his removal, but the news tonight is that he is suspended.  Ahead of today’s meeting, we spoke with Edmund Zuniga Junior, chair of the Belize District Branch of the P.S.U.

 

Edmund Zuniga Jr., P.S.U. Chair, Belize District [File: May 16th, 2017]

“The conversation really took me aback.  In this age, 2017, to hear people speak about race relations and Garifuna people and our history in such a manner really took me aback.  But I am more worried about the fact that our ambition has been called into question and our aspiration, if I might say so.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now as you mentioned, you are also the chair of the Belize District branch of the P.S.U.   Is there any position that has been or will be taken in light of what has been put out there?”

 

Edmund Zuniga Jr.

Well tomorrow, Wednesday, we have a general membership meeting and it’s important that we take this issue to the membership, to the wider membership, and they will decide exactly what will happen, if anything will happen.  They will decide if they want to keep our president as our leader or if they make any other decisions then I have to bring that forward to the wider membership of the Public Service Union.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now as a member of the Council of Management, I believe yours was among nine other signatures affixed to the letter requesting that Mr. Neal tender his resignation.  Share with us your position based on the conversation that the Council of Management within itself.”

 

Edmund Zuniga Jr.

Well, we, I was one of the signatories, yes, and I was one of the signatories primarily because as a union, we stand for nondiscrimination, whether it comes to sex, religion or culture.  And to have our leader speak in such a manner, really, is not the sentiment that we want around the table.  But as I said, we have to go to the wider membership and then the wider membership will decide what will happen next.  For me, as a person, as I said, his statements question our ambitiousness as Garifuna people.  We are not hungry for power and we have contributed to this country equitably and we continue to contribute towards this country, making it a better place for all of us.  And our diversity is our uniqueness and it’s our wealth.  What I have to say for anybody making such statements is that I have sympathy for them and for making such a statement, but as Garifuna people, we love all cultures and all races and we continue to build this country, and we will continue to build this country nonstop.”

 

The committee cites part of Chapter Eighteen, Section One of the P.S.U. Constitution Revised Edition of 1993, which states, “The Council of Management may fine any member or officer of the Union who has been found to have been guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interest of the Union, a sum not exceeding one year’s subscription or may suspend or expel such member or officer from the Union.  A vote by no less than two-thirds of the members of the Council of Management in a meeting assembled shall be sufficient to fine, suspend or expel any member or officer of the union.”

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1 Response for “P.S.U. Suspends President Eldred Neal”

  1. LadyBeu says:

    Raciscm has always been a tradition of the BELIZEAN CULTURE. When will this stop? Indeed the Garinagu had educated Belizeans .They were the first of vast majority of public servants to do so.They did it because they were intelligent enough to educate and develop the country by empowering its people. “They did not want power , they wanted to empower”.
    How on earth can you be an executive of an public service union and be against your people ? This is totally wrong.Mr. Neal is not functioning with good intentions towards his people and INDEED He needs to go.
    This NASTY RACIST CULTURE has been keeping the GARINAGU from excelling in our service to our people, because we can do GOOD and service anyone regardless of one’s CULTURE.WE the Garinagu love our people .We do what GOD and OUR ANCESTORS desires us to do here on earth ; Love and Respect people.If Mr Neal and his colleagues do the same we would have a better BELIZE.
    BUT TRUST ME ! Like what I have said, Garinagu will prevail!

    WE KNOW WHERE WE CAME FROM AND WE KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING!!!!!!!!

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