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Jul 22, 2020

AG Explains His Office’s Role in PBL Labor Dispute

Michael Peyrefitte

…that application for an injunction was held this afternoon before Justice Sonya Young, but was it too little, too late considering the fact that the employees have since been made redundant?  According to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, it was necessary to bring the matter before the court because Port of Belize was attempting to skirt an agreed upon process that includes the Ministry of Labor.


Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“We believe that the Ashcroft Group was going to fire some members of the Port of Belize Limited and we believe that there’s a process that they should follow if they want to do something like that and we did not think that just summarily trying to dismiss people without the process taking place was in the best interest of the stevedores, the company or the Port of Belize.  So we felt that it was necessary to at least bring the court’s attention to it and hopefully we can get the court to stop the company from dismissing people before they can exhaust the process that was agreed upon.”


Isani Cayetano

“If I may, the Port of Belize issued a release stating that these thirty-six individuals were served with a notice at eleven o’clock this morning, ahead of the two o’clock hearing that’s taking place right now.  The question then becomes, why at the eleventh hour would an injunction be sought when you guys knew that this was coming and perhaps could have proceeded to do so prior to the service of those letters?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“The real question is, why would they attempt to fire the people just before you have a hearing?  If they believe that they have every legal right to dismiss those employees then just wait for the court to say so.  Why preempt what the court was going to decide.  Obviously what they are trying to tell the court is that it is a done deal, the ship has sailed.  That’s their attempt, by trying to fire the people, but hopefully the court will see that that is just an attempt to upend whatever the court would decide.  So we filed this from yesterday.  We decided on this from early in the week, so it’s not like a last-minute application we made.  We never thought that these people would be so low as to actually do that, but when we found out that they were hundred percent serious about it, then we realized that we had to represent the Labor Department since the Labor Department being a government department is full-fledged a part of the process of trying to mediate between the port and the stevedores.”

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