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Jul 30, 2015

LICU Members Demand Answers

There is a volcanic situation at the La Inmaculada Credit Union in Orange Walk Town which is threatening to erupt. At one end of an ongoing dispute is the Board of Directors of the LICU. At the other end are many long-time members of the prestigious institution. And in the middle is Yolanda Gomez, the former general manager of the LICU who was placed on administrative leave in May, and then terminated a week ago. An investigation is ongoing, and the Board says enough incriminating evidence has been uncovered to warrant the termination of Gomez. But that’s all that body is willing to say, and for the members it is not enough. They have circulated a petition which has allegedly garnered more than twelve hundred signatures from members. They want the AGM which has been delayed since May, they want their dividends and they want an explanation for the termination of Gomez. Mike Rudon has an update on the tempestuous credit union drama.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Today, it was business as usual at the LICU – but the comfort of daily routine threatens to be disrupted by the fallout from first the suspension, and then the termination of long-time General Manager Yolanda Gomez…without any explanation to members who feel that as shareholders in and owners of the union, they deserve to know why. And if the secrecy surrounding Gomez’s demise is not enough, the annual AGM of the institution has been long delayed.


Elda Vega

Elda Vega, LICU Shareholder

“I have been a member of the La Inmaculada Credit Union for more than thirty years and all of my children and grandchildren are members of the La Inmaculada Credit Union. Now every May, we have our annual general meeting. I was away for a while and when I came back, I found that she was placed on administrative leave so I didn’t think it was anything serious. But now this is being prolonged and I really need to know and I am demanding from my board to tell us what is happening, the reasons why she was terminated and how soon we can have Annual General Meeting.”


Members have been ramping up the pressure on the LICU – to the point that they have started collecting signatures on a petition letter which they have presented to Chair of the Board Ena Martinez, and also to Governor of the Central Bank Glen Ysaguirre.


Dave Espadas

Dave Espadas, LICU Shareholder

“Yesterday afternoon, we delivered two set of documents—the original to Miss Ena Martinez and one to Mister Ysaguirre, Central Bank Governor. This is the letter that we presented to all members that we approached to have them sign with this four pointers here asking for the delivery of the AGM; an added report they say they are doing…we want to know what’s happening. The dividends…how much we are going to get, what we have. And why the termination of Miss Yolanda Gomez. So we weren’t twisting anyone’s arm or lying to them or forcing them as the propaganda that they put after they received this. It’s not a press release, it’s a propaganda they put out after they received this signatures and letter directed to Miss Ena Martinez.”


These are signatures, purportedly from over twelve hundred members of the credit union. We say purportedly because the Board responded with an immediate release claiming, “Some of our members have indicated that they were deliberately misled through inaccurate information and that their signatures were obtained under deceit. Other members are even claiming that they are being harassed by these persons gathering signatures.”


Estela Torres, Collected Petitions

“We have different members going around the villages and we were collecting right here around Guinea Grass. People want Miss Yolanda Gomez come back again to the credit union. Yesterday dehn take out a press release saying that we are harassing people and that is not true. People know what is happening and we never harass nobody. People volunteered, signed the petition and they continue to come and see me so that they can continue sign.”


Torres says that the ad is simply untrue, because they verify that the persons signing the petition are holders of a valid passbook for the credit union.


Estela Torres

Estela Torres

“To be a member, they have to have a book and a number and wah number so when we reach at the home and we ask about the book. We ask them if it is active and they tell we yes. And people I tell you ask for Miss Yolanda…people sign and say that this lady has helped me; that’s why I will sign.”


The press release from the Board advises its members that relevant information will be shared as soon as the investigation is complete. But in the meantime, Gomez has also allegedly been given a letter which states that she will receive no benefits for her time at the institution.


Elda Vega

“I saw the letter, and it hit me like pushing the spare deeper because she was put on leave, then she was terminated and now she is being told that she is entitled to no benefits. My god, that’s her lifetime; how can you do something like this to a person? And do you know, we are all humans and we all have flaws and I would like to say that whoever believes that they don’t have any flaws, well just remember the words of the grandmaster; throw the first stone.”


So what happens next in a situation which seems to have little hope of a happy ending?


Elda Vega

“I do really hope that they don’t awaken a giant because at this time, I believe a lot of our members are waking up, are realising that they are owners and they have rights and they can go ahead and make demands. And I will repeat, all of the persons that sign the petition are legitimate members, owners of La Inmaculada Credit Union. I personally…I am full of doubts. I am wondering should I continue there because for years, we do all our business at La Inmaculada Credit Union. But I am really not happy with what is going on. I have a very high respect for Miss Yolanda Gomez. And in my mind is the big question: What is so terrible that she could have done?”


Nobody knows – except the Board of Directors, and they’re not telling. Mike Rudon 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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3 Responses for “LICU Members Demand Answers”

  1. Lady bug says:

    Very well said Mrs. Elda Vega, as an active member I share the same sentiments and hope that the LICU will listen to the plea and supplications of us members. We cannot continue to be treated in a belittling manner by the board. Our Credit Union was a small credit union for small people like us and now that it is a big credit union the big business people are taking over and shunning us aside and treating us as if we are no one, when the Credit Union started with us the small people. I am so discouraged.

  2. Amilcar says:

    From what I have listen from the the chair lady of Board of Directors of LICU, the media and concern members it is a sad story to follow, as a member myself I have to agree with d Board of Directors. There are many reasons that we need to look and read very carefully kas at the end of this story we member are the ones to loose. There are plenty of sentiments floating around and we tend to side with the “So call fires GM. But my question is why these handful of close friend n especially family members are doing all the protest and giving interviews to the media. When it should be Yolanda Gomez kas from what the chair lady mention from the Press Release was that the board have her Mrs. Gomez plenty of chances to come in or come clean so that “her” name be cleared which she never did. So that itself tell us something regarding Her culpability. Because if it was me and I know that I haven’t done anything procedures or personal decisions beyond the rules and regulations of LICU. Secondly why would Mrs. Gomez showing her termination letter to “those” same members lifting up dust? That should be a private letter for her only not to be showing it to Mrs. Vega. Because that is what Mrs. Vega stated in her interview that she had seen and read the letter where it stated that Mrs. Gomez will not receive benefits. Is Mrs. Gomez the one putting these innocent/ not informed member to do her job. Because I personally know Mrs. Gomez and she is a recking ball and very vocal. So why she doesn’t gets on the media and try to clarify her name. But like how they say the best PR(Public Relations) is not to say nothing. We member should try to be a bit understand and patients with the board of directors and give them our confidence to do what they were elected for. Let not go back to the 70,80 and part of the 90′s. Because those member well knew how that was. And third, let’s be a bit more open minded and let’s not always think educated people or person that whole a better business position are not able to sway to the left side especially when you crate and bring a Credit Union from a couple 100 members to what it was. So let’s stay positive that the board will do what it’s necessary for the well been of US Menmbers. Because at the end of this story you don’t want to hear “I Told U So! And especially when power gets to your head, like how the saying goes ” the higher you get the hard is the fall

  3. Truthfulguy says:

    Shareholders should not panic, the Central Bank has done its part and the external auditor has done his part also. With Mrs. Yolanda Gomez, eventhough she brought LICU to this developed state became very comfortable in her position and did many wrong things which endangered the economical viability of that institution and hence she was removed. I am a long time member and I am really pleased that she has been terminated. Even many employees are much better as she violated many labor laws. The truth shall make you free!

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