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Sep 14, 2005

Old soldiers battle for control of Ex-Services League

Story PictureA tempest in a teapot has been brewing on Newtown Barracks as officials of the Belize Ex-Services League continue to buck heads over missing money, rights to the headquarters building, and responsibilities to the welfare of veterans. The situation climaxed earlier this month when the Belize City Branch was served with an expulsion letter from the National Executive Council of the League. In response, attorney for the Belize City crew, Wilfred Elrington, has served notice on the League leaders that such a move is unconstitutional, illegal, and null and void since the executive council hasn’t held elections in more than two years. In a press conference this morning, the Belize City branch maintained to the media that because they are the only active unit of the league, the national council is trying to strong-arm the profits from fund raising events through exorbitant fees to use the lower flat of Canada House, their building on the Barracks. Furthermore, officials contend that the national council has a past history of financial mismanagement.

McKesson Garrett, Chairman, Belize City Branch
“They continue to threaten us and they continue to abuse us, because that’s what they are doing. These guys, these honourable gentlemen and women who have served their country well is really being abused due to this malicious ill-content that they have against the branch.”

“The administration knows it well that whenever they need anything, all they have to do is ask and we are never hostile in giving them what they need.”

Janelle Chanona
“Because you earned this money you feel that you should have a say in how it is spent, rather than just contributing it to a general fund?”

McKesson Garrett
“We have had some bad experience with the people that would operate a general fund.”

Terrence Belisle, Member, Belize City Branch
“They are dogmatic in their attitude, no sense at all. The lawyer explained to you, he tried to get those people, the sub-council men to come down and discuss this thing like intelligent people around this same table like we are here. Come down and talk to us, don’t be sending directives and directives. By the time we solve one directive, we got another one, by the time we get to those two directives, we get another one, by the time we got solve number two or three, we got another one. Until finally we get a report: you will be expelled. What kind of cooperation did we get from them when we tried to tell them come down and talk to us man to man.”

Rose Armstrong, Member, Belize City Branch
“I would really like to ask the executive, what have they done lately for the veterans in Belize. Because one of them call the radio station and said that the people that are talking have never put on a uniform. I would like them to know I have never put on uniform for the military, I have worn uniform for our civil service in Belize, but I have done much more than they have ever done.”

According to the Belize City branch, they are reluctant to touch their nest egg of around fifteen thousand dollars, as the monies are slated to be used a funeral fund for branch members. As for a meeting between both sides, when News Five contacted National Executive President Bernard Adolphus this afternoon, he said that he is willing to meet with the Belize City Branch provided that they will abide by the league’s constitution, which includes undertaking the responsibility to distribute veterans’ stipends and accepting the fact that monies raised in the name of the Ex-Services League belong to all members, not just one branch. Regarding the issue of the executive committee being constitutional, Adolphus says that at the end of 2002, all district members with voting rights had agreed to maintain the committee elected that year until all internal disagreements, including the issues at hand, were settled.

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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