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Apr 14, 2005

B.T.L. workers on the street; bomb threat or protest?

Story PictureAround nine this morning approximately one hundred employees of Belize Telecommunications Limited lined the street in front of the company?s headquarters on St. Thomas Street. A bomb threat had been called in to the facility, forcing workers outside. But when News Five arrived at the scene, one allegation was that when B.T.L.?s unionists had problems getting support for a planned walk-out today, a bomb threat was used as a desperate last resort measure. This morning the Belize Communication Workers Union denied involvement in the threat but stated, “It was a good opportunity to speak to staff about what?s happening with the company.” The situation was compounded over the unionists disgruntled feelings regarding the presence of Dean Boyce on the compound. Boyce was the company?s C.E.O. under Michael Ashcroft. According to B.C.W.U.?s President, Paul Perriott, his members are demanding that Government make good on its promise to put control of the telecommunications company into Belizean hands.

Paul Perriott, Pres., Bz. Communication Workers Union
?The Michael Ashcroft regime actually di come in yah come tek over back fu we company again and we have signs stating that we no want them back inna we yard. So after meeting with the staff and meeting with some management people, we decide that we no wah accept the things the way they di happen right now and if the revolution have to start from yah, this da weh it wah start from. Frustration de inna the company, we know that Michael Ashcroft and them guys they done di start ask questions about how many staff we have, and before they left we gone through some major restructuring exercises weh quite a few ah we start gone home. And we believe, and all the staff believe inna deh heart that if they come back in yah, that wah happen again.?

?We feel that all the agreements weh the government sign are illegal, so we wah force them fu back off ah those agreements and come back with the fifty-two percent to the members, the staff, or the people of Belize because by doing that?again you notice that by doing that what they did is cause more problems fu we in the country of Belize inna the international court inna Miami.?

?The B.T.L. articles of association makes mention specifically to preferred persons and only the Government of Belize or the employees of B.T.L. can be preferred persons, so what they are doing is illegal in the articles of association in naming Michael Ashcroft as a preferred person.?

?We di understand that they done set up a board of directors and they done set up even further, an executive arm of that board of directors, which we know illegal. They noh even call wah board meeting to set up wah executive arm of the board…?

Janelle Chanona
?Are those rumours or things that you have [evidence of]??

Paul Perriott
?Those are rumours that we are hearing, and by him being here it just proves that what we di hear could be true by him being here…?

Janelle Chanona
?Aren?t you afraid that you might be acting on something that isn?t true, just a coincidence??

Paul Perriott
?No, we are not acting on something that is not true, we know it the happen then. I might say it?s rumours, but we know it?s happening. As far as I can say it is a rumour, but it?s true.?

After a thorough check of the compound by police, which included Commissioner Gerald Westby and Assistant Compol Crispin Jeffries, an all clear was given to the employees that it was safe to return to work.


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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