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May 4, 2021

P.S.U. Kicks of Strike with Service and March through Belize City

If you went to any government offices today and wondered where the staff was, well they were very likely on the streets of Belize City. News Five followed the Public Service Union members from their opening church service to their march on Belize City.

 

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Today marks the first day of strike action for the Public Service Union of Belize. The day began with a church service at the King’s Park Nazarene church.  After service, the P.S.U., Belize National Teachers Union, the Nurses Association of Belize, and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers went on a march through the streets of Belize City. President of the PSU, Gerald Henry told News Five that he was thrilled with the turnout of PSU members, which he estimated to be hundreds, from communities across the country.

 

Gerald Henry

Gerald Henry, President, P.S.U.

“Well unfortunately you are not able to see the smile behind the mask. Because there is a huge smile going from one molar to the other one on the left. So, it is certainly a pleasure to see that the sleeping giant is awakening. And I am hoping there will be no turning back from this point.”

 

Of three groups, group one and two would merge at Memorial park before making their way up Albert Street, turning on to Regent Street, and back to Memorial park. Group two marched from Yarborough, unto Central American Boulevard, down Cemetery road, and ended back in the Yarborough area.

 

Darrell Spencer

Darrell Spencer, President, Nurses Association of Belize

“This year, we are celebrating forty years as an independent nation. And if you do the maths we average about two decades of each of our two crooked political parties. Two decades of People’s United Party, two decades of the United Democratic Party. And all that we’ve gotten for those forty years is a bukut. Both parties have kept putting bukut on all of us. It is time that we as a citizens come together and stop.”

 

Members of the Belize National Teachers Union have been at it since Monday of last week. And, according to President Smith, the pressure being brought by the BNTU has the government exactly where the Unions want them to be.

 

Elena Smith

Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U.

“I am sure that our actions thus far has probably pushed them to work faster in terms of the draft for the Whistleblowers Act. And so while they might not concede that, we believe that our actions and the time that we have been out has caused them to work a bit faster in presenting those drafts to us. And we also believe that if we continue with the pressure that we will be able to get those other draft legislation long before the eight months that they have proposed to us in those meetings.”

 

The smallest group to be represented in today’s protest were the members of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers. But, that is only because APSSM is the smallest union, with an estimated fifty members.

 

Sharon Frazer

Sharon Frazer, President, A.P.S.S.M.

“People have been asking where is A.P.S.S.M. on this. But we are public officers. We are just the leaders of the public officers, so there would have been no need for us to declare whatever because it has already been declared. We are responsible and they are expecting us as leaders to be responsible. But we have been supporting the members of P.S.U., as you know we are their supervisors. As you can see whenever it is I am able to, and there are others who have been participating. Except that we are smaller in number also we are not as visible as the B.N.T.U. and the P.S.U., but we are in total solidarity from day one and will continue to be at the table.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


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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