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Oct 3, 2018

G.O.B. Intervenes in Stevedores/Port Impasse

Carla Barnett

The Port of Belize provides an essential service. It is a port of entry used to import and export millions of dollars worth of merchandise every single month. The standoff between stevedores and officials of the Port of Belize has caught the attention of the Government of Belize. Minister of State responsible for labor, Senator Doctor Carla Barnett, told the press today that she hopes to meet with both sides in order to keep the peace and have both parties agree on a compromise that would settle the dispute.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State Responsible for Labor

“We are trying to meet with them urgently. The twenty one days has been invoked so there are certain processes that you have to go through under the law under which they invoked that twenty one days. So we are trying to keep the peace. We are trying to get them to talk, that is what we would want to do. If there isn’t the possibly of talking then we have to move beyond that because the port is an essential service. We have to keep it open. We have to keep the flow of goods into and out of the country. So we are prepared to work with both sides.”

 

Reporter

“The Port of Belize C.E.O. is saying that if they had an agreement that if they do reach an impasse they should move to mediation or to the point of a mediator. Is this is what you are recommending or is it just for them…?”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“I am not recommending anything at this time. We are preparing to meet with both sides and to see what a suitable way forward is because we have to do that. We can’t jump ahead of the game. We have to meet with both side and so before the end of the day today hopefully we will have had that meeting with both sides.”

 

Reporter

“Are you willing to pronounce on the hours of work; the sticking point?”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“No, I am not. I know they have been in discussion on that for a long, long time. There is a feeling on one side that they will not back down and there is a feeling on the other side that they will not accept. So that is an impasse; classic definition of a standoff. So we have to get into a discussion with both sides.”

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