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Nov 22, 2013

Mother of 2 shows up at her government job, to find someone else at her desk

Sharie Muschamp was employed at the International Business Companies Registry when it was taken over by the government earlier this year. She was, however, on medical leave which transitioned into maternity leave for the twenty-seven year old receptionist. Muschamp says she was never terminated and was shocked that when she attempted to collect maternity benefits, she was turned back. That was the beginning of her woes and today when she went back to work, the mother of two found out that government has taken food from the mouths of her children. Her attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, says that her client has been trampled by elephants. Duane Moody has that story.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

On June eleventh when the government assumed control of the Belize International Services Limited, which manages the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize and International Business Companies Registry, PM Barrow assured Belizean employees that they would keep their jobs. But that was the start of troubles for twenty-seven year old Sharie Muschamp, who was never legally terminated, but is tonight without a job.  Muschamp was a receptionist at the IBCR since 2008 and she was on medical leave at the time.

 

Sharie Muschamp, Claims She was Unlawfully Terminated

“As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t gotten a dismissal letter. Nobody has formally terminated my service. It is only by word of mouth and I think it is something illegal that they are doing.”

 

Duane Moody

“So you got whiff before you came back that they had terminated you without any indication; without no notification anything like that?”

 

Sharie Muschamp

Sharie Muschamp

“Yes sir, I did. That came from Mister Gandhi when I spoke to him at Belmopan, I called him. After I went to collect my social benefits from Social Security for my maternity leave, I was instructed that I wasn’t an employee of IBC Registry and that Mister Gandhi needed to sign a letter in order for me to get my maternity benefits. When I called him, he explained to me that I am no longer working; I am medically unfit of working here at the IBC Registry and stuff like that. To me I am still employed; nobody dismissed me the proper way. I haven’t had it in black and white.”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Shari Muschamp

“This young lady was pregnant and she got sick leave because as a result of her pregnancy, she began having some problems. Many women have problems when they get pregnant. Some of them get gestational diabetes and all kinds of things. But that’s not a handicap, it doesn’t make it permanent. But even if that’s the basis Mister Gandhi wants to dismiss this lady, he needs to take her before a medical board. Mister Gandhi is a lawyer, not a doctor.”

 

With the advice of her attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd, this morning at eight o’clock sharp, Muschamp, went to clock in at work. But got the shocking confirmation, her desk was occupied by someone else…and she was no longer employed by IBC Registry. What was even more damning was that moments after we approached Muschamp, the security guard informed us both that he was instructed by G.O.B.’s Legal Counsel  Gian Gandhi that we are both to be escorted from the building…or at least to the lobby on the first floor.

 

Sharie Muschamp

“My maternity leave up yesterday which is the twenty-first and was to report to work today the twenty-second. When I came in, I was greeted by Miss Beverly, a senior in the IBC Registry. I told her I came back to report to work as my leave was up. She told me to wait, I guess she went behind and called Santiago—I don’t know who is the deputy registrar—and Santiago I guess told her that I had to speak to Catherine Haylock, who is the previous deputy registrar and that I no longer belong on the compound and that I should be off the compound.  The security guard came in told us that we have to come off the building. Mister Gandhi had called him and instructed him that we don’t belong in the building; I don’t belong anywhere close to the compound and if I wanted to speak to Catherine or Santiago, I need to do it off the premises.”

 

An emotional Muschamp says that she was treated as though she is a criminal.

 

Sharie Muschamp

“I have two child that I have to feed. It is upsetting to know that they would do something like this. I mean dehn sit up dah top deh with dehn big salaries and I dah underdog to them. I don’t think dehn mi need to push me aside or take bread outta my mouth with my kids. And then nobody want explain the situation to me. It demoralizes me. It makes I feel so empty. I feel like wah criminal honestly. To have wah security guard drive you when I noh do nothing wrong. I noh medically unfit. I di stand up right yah in front of you. I noh handcap, I noh have pressure, mi heart noh di race.”

 

Minutes after being escorted out of the building this morning, Matura-Shepherd came to aid her client. On May twenty-fourth, 2013, Muschamp received a letter from Deputy Registrar, Katherine Haylock stating that due to her good cooperation, her salary was increased by eight hundred and seventy-six dollars to eighteenth thousand four hundred and eight dollars annually. And four days later, on May twenty-eight, another letter was attached to her file. It was a warning for unscheduled absence and insubordination due to her thyroid sickness during her pregnancy.  Matura-Shepherd says that her client’s woes are unwarranted and she is in a battle between elephants.

 

Audrey Matura Shepherd, Attorney for Shari Muschamp

“When she was maternity leave or when she was on sick leave then went on maternity leave, the government took over this IBC. This lady is not concerned who owns it—she doesn’t care that the government wants to take it over or not—she can work with anybody. But now what they have done to her that is unfair is that the government is saying that it is your previous boss who should have dismissed you and paid you severance. And the previous boss is saying no, how could us do that. We didn’t want to give up the place; we gave the place with all the employees.  The previous employer never dismissed her. So they are just being unfair to take away her job indirectly because she has never been officially fired by anyone and the truth is none of them want to even say who will pay her severance. I mean talk about an injustice; this is a true injustice because when those two elephants were fighting, this is the little grass that got trampled. But this grass will not just stay down and allow them to do what they want.”

 

Matura-Shepherd provided several letters of where she attempted to resolve the matter before bringing it to the media, but it was to no avail. Muschamp had even sought the assistance of the Ombudsman since her records now show that she is medically unfit to be hired by any organization.

 

Audrey Matura Shepherd

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“In a letter that we received from Mister Gandhi, Mister Gandhi explained that they had meetings with the other employees and gave them the courtesy of telling them that they can remain on the job. They didn’t even extend that courtesy to my client. Now imagine, you are on maternity leave, you are going through a difficult pregnancy and at the same time now, they will throw you out. You can understand why she is emotional. We have tried to resolve this behind the scenes, but we had also written Mister Gandhi and told the government that we are prepared to go public so that people know how they have taken advantage of one single mother of two children who just came off maternity leave.  And imagine, she was entitled to all her maternity leave benefits. Because they are claiming that she is unemployed and they stopped paying her social security, she doesn’t even have that to turn to. That in itself is a pittance, but she doesn’t even have that to turn to.”

 

Matura Shepherd says that the matter will be taken to court to determine who is responsible to pay her client’s severance. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

We were unable to get comment from Gandhi on the issue. 

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4 Responses for “Mother of 2 shows up at her government job, to find someone else at her desk”

  1. Rod says:

    This is how judas barrow and his gov. Treat the poor people while they go on the thief the po people money it’s truly sickening to see a po woman treated in this manner but this udp no k but no one but they thieving self.this is one sick ass pm and gov. Guan judas guan how do you sleep at night

  2. Jorge says:

    Mr. Ghandi should be ashamed that after so many years he is still working in his position as “Ye sa” minister. He’s been so long in that position it’s time for him to go.

  3. cg says:

    what exactly does Barrow’s wife get paid for again? ..somebody remind me…something…women and children…

    oh sorry, you married to the gob doing this…..my bad!

  4. Buju says:

    I think they dropped the ball on this one……..

    No one can dispute Mr. Ghandi is a well educated and higly trained person but sometimes we have to look outside the box and ourside of the law and use common sense and compassion in certain cases.

    This is a sad situation all around…

    Like all of us in the workforce this young lady needs her job

    IF SHE DIDN’T NEED HER JOB SHE WOULD NOT BE WORKING…

    I hope cooler heads prevail and this young lady is treated fairly –

    and she pretty and sexy too ;-)

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