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Aug 13, 2012

Belize Times former employees want Said Musa to “show me the money”

The government has a tough task of restructuring the Superbond to the international bondholders and on the home front, the Opposition People’s United Party also faces a tough time keeping its party organ, the Belize Times functional. A press release from Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca says the newspaper has been operating at a loss for the past few years and is no longer able to sustain those losses. He said, “Some ten days ago I made the difficult but unavoidable decision to release five members of the Belize Times staff and family. It has been the most difficult decision I have had to make as P.U.P. leader and given the challenges faced over the past few months, that should be a telling admission of the sincere appreciation and respect I and our Party have for these employees…I regret greatly that this decision and action became necessary and offer my personal apologies, as I did in person to each of them on Friday, to these employees if they feel in anyway unfairly treated.” But while Fonseca offered apologies, the former employees do feel unfairly treated not by Fonseca, but by former P.U.P. Leader Said Musa. News Five caught up with several of the former employees as they left the Labour Department this morning.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Belize Times has dismissed five of its seven employees who worked with the P.U.P. printery for many decades. Fay Castillo who worked for seventeen years is not satisfied with the severance pay.

 

Fay Castillo

Fay Castillo, Former Employee, The Belize Times

“On Friday last, Mr. Musa came to the office and he informed us that our services will be terminated as of Friday and we perfectly understand that due to economically hard times right now. But what we were not satisfied with and we voiced that to him and to Francis that we did not agree with severance pay that we were receiving; we did not agree with the amount of notice pay we received or the vacation salary—the figures were just way off. From what I am understanding and after reading the letter, we realized the tactic that Said is trying to pull off on us. He is a lawyer and he is using that to his advantage. In 2008, he gave us a pension fund—he shared that with the staff that was left for us by Mister Price. When the leadership changed, out of maliciousness, he took the pension fund and said he will share it with the staff instead of put it in the hands of Mister Briceño. And so they gave us a portion, they gave us some money and they said it was gratuity. At no point in time did Mister Musa ever told us that that was part of our severance pay. How could it be severance pay when we were still working? Out services were never terminated at any point in time nor was it interrupted. So that’s what we are querying. How only now we are knowing that that money that we received was part of severance pay; come on.”

 

Three of the disgruntled employees met with the Labour Department at 9am. The Labour department employees lied outright and said that there was no meeting and none of the former employees were in the building. But at ten minutes to ten, Fay Castillo, who has been working for seventeen years and Doreth Bevans who worked for forty-three years exited the building.

 

Jose Sanchez

“Miss Bevans; how old is the paper and how long have you been with it?”

 

Doreth Bevans, Former Employee, The Belize Times

“I think the paper is almost like fifty-six or fifty-seven years old. I’ve worked there for forty-three years; I think about seven or eight years after it opened up I’ve been there.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“How much funds are you expecting? I know you received some funds a while before.”

 

Doreth Bevans

“Well when we check up, it supposed to be twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and something dollars, but they only gave me five thousand nine hundred and something dollars.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So clearly you are very upset—you spent your entire life at this organization.”

 

Doreth Bevans

“My entire life and all I am asking is Mister Musa, to give me what I duly… I didn’t want to leave bitter because we almost grow up together. We work so long; I just want to leave in peace with my money.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“You are here at the Labour Department; you’ve spoken to them. what have they told you?”

 

Fay Castillo

“Well we brought in the termination letter he gave us with the figures. We are asking the Labor Department—well it is the Labor Department to look after employee’s rights—sometimes the employers are ignorant to the labor law or sometimes they just don’t care. So we are seeking Labor Department in helping us in receiving our correct amount of severance that we think we deserve.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“What advice have they given you?”

 

Fay Castillo

“Well I don’t really want to say what because it’s a working thing. They have to find the time to investigate and follow up with them too.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“At this point you haven’t given up. How much money have you received already and how much do you feel is still outstanding?”

 

Fay Castillo

“Well even if I add what he gave to me; that is he now claiming was severance in 2008, if I add that to what I got Friday; that still does not bring to what I was supposed to get. He gave me a letter; I got four weeks’ notice. If I have seventeen years, the law clearly states that over five years, you should receive eight weeks’ notice. The whole letter, there is a lot of discrepancies. From the letter to me is a clear case of disrespect. If you would zoom in on the letter, this letter is addressed to me, Fay Castillo, but yet it addressed Dear Rachel. Is this breakdown for Rachel? Is it for Fay?”

 

Doreth Bevans

“I don’t think it is business, it’s an in war; it’s two sides to take. If you take one side, the next side get vex; if you take the next side, the next side get vex. So I think it is an inside war. It is not really the newspaper closing down—it is about I am in the wrong and I am on the wrong side of the fence. That’s all.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“And you just want to get your proper severance?”

 

Doreth Bevans

“All I want; I just want my money. I don’t want to part bitter, I want to part in peace and that’s all I’m asking for.”

 

Honesty was not forthcoming at the Labour Department. When asked why they did not tell the truth, the labor department employees maintained that there wasn’t a meeting. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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16 Responses for “Belize Times former employees want Said Musa to “show me the money””

  1. O says:

    Where is Rod ,he knows the correct story!

  2. Storm says:

    I was pretty critical of Musa’s stewardship of the nation’s treasury when he was PM, and nobody can be surprised if any and every financial transaction he touches turns to failure and disaster. I don’t know if the man is dishonest, but money disappears when he’s around, and his promises are made to be broken.

    Don’t gloat, though, Hon.Barrow — based on experience, many of us are no more impressed by you and your cronies, either.

    I’m neither PUP nor UDP, but it’s wrong for honest working people to be badly treated and cheated like this.

  3. Lucas says:

    Sometimes for the problem at hand and due to circumstances, the best decision is taken. However, that best decision may not necessarily be the right thing to do. This is not the first time I hear the PUP leadership takes advantage of foot-soldiers. These people gave their lives for the PUP and should had been sent away with what rightly is their due. It does not look good on the PUP and it makes a bad impression on them. I supported the PUP in this past general election but if the PUP wants to earn the trust of the people, then they must practise justice, do mercy, always mindful that the laborer is worthy of his salary.

  4. Uncle Benji says:

    Come on, we are drowning in a glass of water. If the newspaper is broke, where the hell are the monies going to come from for paying all the monies these folks are claiming?

    Please don’t be assinine and say something stupid like “musa has to pay for it..” The newspaper operated as a company for profit under Belizean laws. That company is now broke.

    Ex employees will have to lick their chops, swallow a love pill and move on. Such is life in any capitalistic system.

    Belizeans are becoming contagious with “OBAMANISM” — “don’t worry, you do not have to work, we will take care of you. Here is a hand me down. ”

    Get over it. The newspaper is broke. Take what was given, run and do not look back. Move on.

  5. @@@@ says:

    Come on Uncle Benji….if this would have been done to you, I bet you won’t be saying all this @#$*…..

  6. uncle cas cas says:

    ladies fight for what is yours but don’t hold your breaths that u will get it. The labor department has to find time to investigate? come on who they think their fooling? no investigation will b done or foot dragging will proceed. fight ladies fight . oh n go cash that check asap ( as soon as possible)

  7. now i see says:

    The labour department is a waste of time. Most of the time they help the boss for good amount of $$$$ The employer tells them I WILL GIVE YOU THE MONEY BETTER. Because my worker bring me to labour. This we all know. The only way they will help you will be if they dont like you then not even with money the dog will dance.

  8. OBAMA says:

    The package of SEVERANCE, HOLIDAY & NOTICE PAY is a JOKE. How can a person working for the years they did can be expected to SURVIVE on that ALLOWANCE. The REASON they are going broke is that they JUST TALK POLITICS. EVERYONE KNOWS how crooked UDP/PUP is. Talk about ISSUES at hand and write your comments LIKE CHANNEL 5. ATLEAST HERE, THE PEOPLE HAVE A VOICE instead of listening to ONE SIDE STORY. GOD BLESS

  9. observer says:

    I am disappointed with this new PUP. I was not a fan of Johnny because they used to just appoint people and there was no elections but now They are forcing us to wait FIVE YEARS in order to choose the person we want to represent us. What is wrong with you people…wake up cause UDP will make history and be in for FIFTEEN YEARS if you dont get your acts straight? DID Said Musa fire his Crony Alberto Vellos?

  10. on behalf of Rod says:

    Rod quiet pan dis one so I wah sey it fi him in his own words, :)

    “And where is the supposed leader of the country I’ll tell you Miami beach spending your hard earned money. When will you belizeans wake up and march on this useless incompetent impotent pm and gov.”

    wonder how we should refer to musa and fonseca administration now???

  11. bmp chic says:

    yeah now rod is missing in action. helllooooooooo rod

  12. Rod says:

    They should go and a sk barrow for some money since he has enough money to take 15 vacations this year alone and stay in Miami beach at a resort paying 300.00 per night plus food drinks and frolic. Add this up for 100 days of vacation and what do you get enough to pay back all the belizeans for thei social security money they have lost then you add in all the money’s paid to all the gang members this year which adds up to over 200’000.00 for the year and they still keep killing people everyday and this is the leader that some people on here keep defending we got some really dunce belizeans.

  13. Simone says:

    Karma-this is what you get for sleeping with dogs-their fleas-after years of slandering people you now want sympathy-da good fu all a unu

  14. O says:

    Oh he is finally here ,so Rod you mean these people should go and ask/beg for money from Barrow who is over spending and dont bother with what they duly earned?…….check it out ,they should be begging/asking for money instead…Ok!

  15. ang says:

    I agree them business fu get more this no new my sista n brotha almost 50 went thru the same thing nuthin cos the co broke after many yrs ya da bze no expect it to be like america learn from this save payoff assets get u li farm fu ole age u li hen etc fruit tree…cos things will get harder before better

  16. WESTERNMERMAID says:

    ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD WHERE THE HECK R U?
    WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU MAN!!!! WHAT YOU HAVE O SAY ABOUT THIS ONE?

    PLEASE DON’T TELL ME YOU GONE HYDE INA THE JACKASS ASSSSSS!!!!

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