Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Social Issues » Unions replace representatives in Soc. Sec. Board
Sep 15, 2005

Unions replace representatives in Soc. Sec. Board

Story PictureThere has been a major shake-up in the Belize labour movement as the union leadership reacts to the decision taken by their two representatives on the Social Security Board. That decision, to vote in favour of a ten million dollar loan to Sunshine Holdings, a trust company set up to purchase B.T.L. shares on behalf of the company’s workers, has proven fatal to Antonio Gonzalez and Horris Patten. Outraged at the eight to one vote, the unions called a special general council meeting in Belize City last night to discipline the two representatives. At that gathering Gonzalez tendered his resignation, but Patten, who is also President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, put the issue to the floor for a vote… and eighteen out of the twenty-two members in attendance voted for his removal from the Social Security Board. By the end the night the congress had selected two new candidates to fill the vacancies: Elena Smith of the Belize National Teachers Union and President of the Public Service Union, Dylan Reneau. According to George Frazer, General Secretary of the N.T.U.C.B, with three meetings called in three days, Gonzalez and Patten should have sensed that something was wrong. Furthermore, Frazer maintains that even though the Prime Minister made a personal appearance before the board to convince them to vote in favour of the loan, the inherent problems with the deal should have been obvious.

George Frazer, General Secretary, N.T.U.C.B
“The loan to this company, which our research indicates is registered at the same office as Carlisle hence one would be led to believe it is a company attached to Mr. Michael Ashcroft. He has enough money, we have had enough of scandals and abuse and mismanagement of our funds, we are in dire straits financially. Government has put us on the brink with all these deals that came out, even on the international arena.”

“There are no guarantees; this is taking our workers, our people for fools. These monies are the worker’s money paid by the workers and by employers on behalf of the workers. The other thing is that as the Social Security Act indicates, loans are to be made for investments, that is not an investment as such.”

Janelle Chanona
“We understand now from a press release that one of those members, Mr. Gonzalez, has since resigned from his position as union representative on the board and another was removed. Why go that route and look like you’re going against your own reps?”

Anthony Fuentes, 2nd Vice President, N.T.U.C.B
“Okay what happened was that the National Trade Union Congress of Belize from time to time had mentioned to our reps that important issues such as these, they would need to consult the general membership of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and Mr. Horris Patten and Mr. Gonzalez did not consult with the with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. And we as N.T.U.C.B., representing employees, we felt that the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the workers of this country were betrayed by the vote that they took at this meeting that was held by the Social Security Board.”

With the removal of Patten from his seat on the Social Security Board viewed as a vote of no confidence, it is believed that the labour leader is now considering stepping down from his position as President of the N.T.U.C.B. According to Frazer, a press conference will be held on Monday in Belize City to further explain their position on the S.S.B. loan.

In related news, the Belize Communication Worker’s Union has issued a press release stating that it stands firmly behind Gaspar Aguilar in his dispute with the B.T.L. Board of Directors and remains opposed to the Social Security loan to Sunshine Holdings, a company that the union says “cannot claim to represent the workers of B.T.L.”

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.

Advertise Here

You must be logged in to post a comment Login