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Jan 30, 2015

CWU President Accuses S.S.B. of Disrespect

On Monday, according to S.S.B. Act, the N.T.U.C.B. informed the Office of the Prime Minister that they were nominating Emily Turner and Floyd Neal as directors and Philip Tate as an alternate director to the Social Security Board. But that nomination did not sit well with the S.S.B. which issued a release saying that it does not support Neal’s appointment.  According to S.S.B., it is a conflict of interest since negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement and performance bonus with CWU are taking place and Neal is the Secretary General of the union. According to CWU president, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who also sits on the N.T.U.C.B., the S.S.B. is disrespecting the N.T.U.C.B. and the CWU.


Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, President, CWU
“Under the Social Security Board Act, the second schedule, it says clearly at point one; the Board shall be appointed by the minister from among persons of integrity and high standing and shall consist of two persons nominated by the national trade union congress of Belize. So the minister doesn’t have a discretion whether they accept the person or not. When we nominate those members, the minister should appoint. So as a member of N.T.U.C.B., CWU’s General Secretary, Mister Floyd Neal, sits as one of the delegates and he got through a democratic process elected to be one of the representatives on the Social Security Board. Social Security was informed via the Prime Minister’s Office clearly because the letter is set to the Prime Minister because it is he who then does the appointment under the act and then he just sends the letter of appointment. What happened is clearly before the formalities could go through, someone creating mischief approached those in the board and things got out of control. Let me say clearly, while Mister Neal is on the Christian Workers Union, it is the National Trade Union Congress of Belize that does the nomination, it is the N.T.U.C.B. that is being disrespected and I can assure you, the N.T.U.C.B. will deal with the matter directly. They have an upcoming annual general meeting at which we will have election of new officers, but this is one of the issues on the agenda. From CWU’s perspective, we respond only to the issue of conflict of interest, which I find rather interesting because it seems as though they are talking about conflict of interests but do not recognize what it really means. What they are suggesting is that the mere appointment of an N.T.U.C.B. member who happens to be affiliated with CWU is an all time conflict of interest and that is not so. Conflict of interest is where you are in a position where you are able to influence a situation for your own benefit. In this case, Mister Neal has no benefit to implement for himself, but if they believe that Mister Neal would influence for the benefit of the employees, when the issue of the employees come out that’s when Mister Neal will recuse himself from that decision and it will be dealt with. To say that then is the reason why they don’t want the appointment it would be mean that many people that are on that board right now can’t sit on that board because you never known when a conflict of interest will arrive. The lawfully appointed person steps in a room and there is an item which puts him in a conflict of interest, he just steps out and the other issues he can discuss. So I think it is a lame excuse. It is an indication that they clearly want to box out a legitimate, lawfully, democratically nominated member of the N.T.U.C.B.”

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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