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Apr 22, 2005

City calm as both sides prepare next moves

Story PictureThe ongoing crisis over who is going to govern this country continued today, although overt acts of protest were minimal. Both the government and its opponents in the unions and political opposition used the day to regroup and plot strategy for what increasingly appears to be a long siege. News 5′s Patrick Jones was on the streets all day and has just returned with a roundup of events.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Despite soaring mid-morning heat, members of the public service union Belmopan branch took up positions outside of the B.T.L. compound on Princess Margaret Drive. With placards, carrying stinging messages, National President Dylan Reneau says while the P.S.U. has been absent from the forefront in recent days, they have been very much a part of the resistance movement.

Dylan Reneau, President, P.S.U.
?I think it?s past the mark and the comments of the Prime Minister certainly has irritated in particular the members of they Public Service Union and we are ready to show him that its time to listen to the people.?

Patrick Jones
?Do you think or do you have any indication that they are ready to listen, they haven?t listened in the past, what?s to say they are going to listen now??

Dylan Reneau
?Well certainly, we have seen their style. They are a political party of slander and misinformation. We are not as adept as them in countering what they have been putting out, but they will not break us. We have resolve and we are strong, we are united and we will achieve our end.?

P.S.U. Councillor from Belmopan, Zenaida Moya, says the P.S.U. has been keeping its members fully informed on developments with the B.T.L. issue and says the membership on Thursday night gave their leaders a mandate to throw the full support of the P.S.U. behind the B.T.L. workers.

Zenaida Moya, Councillor, P.S.U.
?What came out of that meeting was that precisely that we want to show, that we are totally against the mismanagement of our public finances. We have a sign there that states: the airport has been privatised, the B.E.L. has been privatised, B.T.L. has been privatised, port has been privatized, the K.H.M.H., almost privatised, D.F.C. bankrupted, S.S.B. funds missing, the tourism village give away. And these are just some of the mismanagement of our funds.?

And in a public show of protest, Moya symbolically presented an award to the Prime Minister and his government.

Zenaida Moya
?Certificate of Corruption. This certificate is awarded to the Prime Minister and the government in recognition–it should have said in recognition of outstanding participation in the mismanagement of Belize?s economy between August twenty-seventh, 1998 to present. And we?re presenting this to him, the twenty-second day of April, 2005. And it is signed by our P.S.U. President Mr. Reneau and myself as a councillor. So this is clear, the pubic officers are very serious about this. We are also, as much as we are employees of the government, we are tax payers and therefore our taxes are paying for their salaries. So it?s a circular flow and we will not continue to allow those people that are called our employers to tell us how to think, what to do, because as you may very well know, there have been a lot of intimidation, so much intimidation that some of our public officers are afraid.?

But Reneau says he is not intimated, and used a cartoon picture pulled from the pages of The Guardian newspapers to send a message to Belmopan.

Dylan Reneau
?It is quite dramatic. It showed the N.T.U.C.B. strike and it falling and some political person said, ?Whew we missed that one? and the minister was saying, ?Run fool, run.? But if you look at the sign, it has now that the B.T.L. issue is over the Prime Minister?s head. And our message is: the B.T.L. shares for Belizeans and workers, not for foreigners. But at the bottom we have another message that I think the Prime Minister needs to listen to, and it points to the N.T.U.C.B. strike action and it says: Do we need to bring it back? And I think that?s a very strong message that the Prime Minister needs to consider.?

It is not clear that Reneau?s hard talk has the support of a majority of public officers and that issue may determine the level and quality of support his union can provide to whatever happens in the future. Patrick Jones, for News Five.


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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