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Apr 3, 2013

The Belize Central Prison Employees Coalition alleges employee abuse by Kolbe

Herman Blease

The Belize Central Prison Employees Coalition is a group which was allegedly formed, as its slogan states, to serve the employees of the Belize Central Prison. And they claim that they need to do that because the employees are being abused by the private management of Kolbe which they say is quote, “engaging in rampant firings, suspensions and other atrocities,” unquote. Now those are serious allegations, and while we didn’t see any proof, Herman Blease and Abdul Nunez, both members of the Coalition, say they have evidence of all they allege, and plenty of it. Both men visited our studio and told us they want a change now, and they are on a crusade to get the change, all on behalf of the more than two hundred employees of the Belize Central Prison.

 

Herman Blease, Former Deputy Chief of Security, Kolbe

“First I want to say to the employees, that we are out here and that we are fighting for their cause. We have just received an additional twenty applications from inside the prison over the Easter holidays, which is demonstrating to us that people are wanting this fight to continue and that changes are to be made. The main point right now that I would like to say to the public and to the country at large is that there is a problem at the prison. The very fact that since January there has been about thirty-three employees either terminated or suspended, and even as we speak now the IT supervisor has been suspended, which is a symptom of a wider problem, a domestic or relationship problem between the Kolbe Foundation and its employees and this must discontinue. While we hold the management at the Board level accountable, in particular the Chairman of the Board Mr. Woods, we are also saying that he is not there every day, but certainly the Superintendent is there, and other people who are supervising, and she is, without doing too much injustice to her, the core problem.”

 

Abdul Nunez

Abdul Nunez, Former Director, Wagner’s Youth Facillty

“We noh wah be onlookers. We are taking a position, and our position is that we will use this initiative, because crisis equals opportunity. So we deh use this opportunity to educate the masses, that anything weh deh happen at Belize Central Prison, it’s just a matter of time before it affects you out here. Now, in so doing we want tell wi comrades da back deh, hold on, help is on the way and we’re not backing down.”

 

Herman Blease

“There has to be a more professional person to manage the men and woman of the prison. That is by saying that they need to review the Superintendent and come up with somebody else who is more competent and capable of doing that job. Secondly they need to insist, like the City Council is doing today, trying to find a way to unionize their staff, to insist that their employees be unionized and then thirdly, look at the system of how employees are terminated. There’s no recourse for them, no due process. They need to look at that very seriously.”

 

Blease and Nunez say that they have presented the evidence they have to the Ombudsman and to the NTUCB, and expect a meeting with Prime Minister Dean Barrow very soon to air those concerns. We note that we were not offered any evidence to back up the allegations against the private managers of the Kolbe Correctional Facility, and when we spoke to Chairman of Kolbe John Woods he preferred not to comment on the attack by Blease and Nunez. 

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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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2 Responses for “The Belize Central Prison Employees Coalition alleges employee abuse by Kolbe”

  1. Storm says:

    Sounds like a union-organizing event to me.

    Our prisons and jails should be run by experienced professionals. I’m a big critic of Kolbe, and think GOB should have a Department of Corrections run by some veteran British or US prison warden. Confining and trying to rehabilitate serious criminals is serious work, and we’re not getting acceptable results.

    At the same time, I believe public employees should not have the right to unionize or strike. They have too many other benefits and job security.

  2. Marie says:

    These are the same people pampering to criminals and allowing them to escape-if you dont like your employer-go work elsewhere. Same employees who try to sneak in drugs etc to same inmates-what is kolbe there for?-to pamper inmates and now employees? toughen up guys. Man up.

  3. Al says:

    Mr Blease and Mr Nunez stay on it. There is so much favoritism going on in that place. The people who are there to do a good job are overlooked and pushed aside in favor of friendship hires.. Kolbe is as broken as the government, but again Woods and Barrow go way back to childhood, these people knew each other from jump street. The youth prison need a strong person who can talk to these kids and teach them how to survive without a criminal life. Time for change at the top.

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