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Jul 23, 2020

Port of Belize Reacts to the Violence at its Compound

Tonight, we start the news with a reaction from the Port of Belize on the tumultuous events of Wednesday.  First, the Port was closed today and that is because P.B.L. says it is carrying out a full assessment of the extent of damages caused during the violence that erupted there. Members of the Christian Workers Union remained inside the compound of the P.B.L. as hell broke loose mid-afternoon. In a strongly worded release today, the PBL says the vandalism not only put lives at risk, but it also had serious ramifications to the economy.  Here is Duane Moody with the statement from the P.B.L. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Contrary to the Christian Workers Union President’s comments, Wednesday’s events at the Port of Belize Limited compound were far from a peaceful protest of solidarity.  PBL, and the greater Belizean economy, were sabotaged by violent CWU members who put innocent lives at risk by setting fire to vehicles, setting fire to equipment, destroying infrastructure and throwing projectiles at the Police. For the fourth time this year, the CWU participated in illegal strike action and this time the lawless activity forced the Port to shut its gates which has serious consequences to the flow of goods into stores and to cargo exporters attempting to get their goods to the international market for the foreseeable future.

For hours, the CWU members caused these unfortunate incidents on the Port that included serious and dangerous vandalism to property, tampering with the electrical supply, smashing windows and destroying IT infrastructure. In a release, PBL thanks the authorities for their efforts to regain control after bearing witness to these acts and for their decisive action this morning to raise the security level at the Port. PBL remains vigilant against further actions and seeks to protect its staff against further threats of physical violence.

According to the release, the unlawful protest came as a direct result of the CWU’s refusal to meet after numerous unanswered invitations by the Port of Belize which forced the redundancies of thirty-six member of its staff following an unprecedented ninety-four percent reduction in cruise vessel related revenue and a twenty-six percent reduction in cargo related revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It further says that as stated by the Union, it was their intention through go-slow and protest action to cause further financial harm to the Port of Belize thereby exacerbating the situation. PBL management continues to be in direct contact with the relevant authorities on this matter and will continue to monitor the business environment for further required actions.


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