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Jan 28, 2009

Christine Perriott fired; Moya cites workers petition as reason

Story PictureRound one of the controversy between Christine Perriott and Zenaida Moya has gone the mayor’s way… at least for now. And Perriott is no longer an employee of the Belize City Council; that’s the word tonight according to Mayor Moya. The two had locked horns over the weekend and last Friday the mayor asked Perriott to resign. Perriott, in response, fired off a lengthy missive to the mayor, accusing her of lying and using her as a scapegoat. And in a press conference this evening Moya says the resolution to fire Perriott was made at a council meeting this afternoon. According to Moya, it was unanimous and bolstered by another worker petition.

Zenaida Moya, Belize City Mayor
“It is a decision made by the council who met this afternoon.”

Jules Vasquez, Channel Seven
“Now, we know the council had a meeting yesterday, where all but one of the councillor and yourself voted to keep her.”

Zenaida Moya
“That is incorrect; that’s not true. There were some councillors who felt that they wanted to hear the news, they wanted to hear what was said by the HR director and most of us agreed to hear what was said. We agreed that we would meet back here today. It was unanimous.”

Jules Vasquez
“Did one councillor vote to keep her?”

Zenaida Moya
“No.”

Kendra Griffith
“Is councillor King here?”

Zenaida Moya
“Councillor King is not here, however, he mailed in his vote in support of her termination.”

Kendra Griffith
“Mayor, did the councillors know you had asked Ms. Perriott to resign?”

Zenaida Moya
“No, they did not know at the time that I had done so. This was a decision that was made directly between myself and Ms. Perriott. As we had always discussed in the past—from she got on actually—that whenever it was felt that she should not be at the council, that I can ask her to resign and she would do so. This morning a petition was done just so we could have it in time for the meeting this afternoon and again it was done amongst the different staff. We have four locations so we tried to go to as many persons. Of course, not everybody is on duty or persons were on trucks; wherever. But they tried to go to the different buildings. They took—and already just within the short span of time we have a hundred and twenty-five signatures from staff. And this is senior level down to junior level.”

“She was not asked to resign for mere termination of persons. That was not it. She was asked to resign because there was mounting pressures brought on by a majority of the workers who felt that they could not work with her or that she was not working with them in terms of they would go to the office and she would, according to them, not want to speak to them or according to some of them “she’d treat them like animals”. So this was the main reason why she was asked to resign.”

“I had brought in the HR director primarily because I felt that as a fellow unionist, she would be one that would think about the workers. You normally hear about unionists wanting workers to be happy; pretty much that’s it, workers are happy, they’re contented and all that. So that’s the purpose why she was brought in to ensure that that happened. However, from the onset there were problems, immediate problems. I am not saying she was not trying to do her job, but the manner in which it was conducted that’s how it happened. And they will say “dah noh what yuh seh, dah how you seh it” and “dah noh weh yoh do, dah how u do it”. I have literally given the HR director a lot of autonomy to do her work and there were instances whereby I did not know of certain actions that were conducted. I would find out about it after it had happened.”

When we called Perriott before the conference, she told us she had not heard anything from the council as to whether she was fired. But this evening Moya said she has sent a letter to Perriott informing her of the Council’s decision. And as they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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