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May 4, 2023

Port of Belize and C.W.U. at Odds; Cargo Ship Sits by Idly

A cargo ship with as many two hundred containers, waiting to be offloaded for delivery to customers across the country, remains docked at the Port of Belize Limited.  The vessel sits idly in the middle of another standoff between the waterfront workers and their employer and everyone is losing money.  This morning, the Christian Workers Union, the representative body for the stevedores, met with reporters at its headquarters in Belize City.  They responded to a statement issued by the Port of Belize Limited on Wednesday, with respect of a delay in the provision of service.  According to C.W.U. President Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, dockworkers are being turned back from their respective shifts discharging the anchored vessel.  This, he alleges, is the result of an existing contract being broken by the Port of Belize Limited, in the face of the Essential Services Act.  Hyde also points out that the Ministry of Labor has remained dormant on the issue, making matters worse.  We start our newscast tonight with the tension that’s once again brewing at the waterfront.


Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union

“What has happened is that PBL has locked out our gangs from doing its work, according to the contract that we have with them.  Our gang, gang 5, has been stationed outside of [the] port ready to do work from yesterday morning.  They were there last night, they were there and probably still there this morning, ready to do the work of unloading the ship that is in port.  The PBL has refused them and, in our view, it’s an illegal refusal.  It’s illegal, it compromises, it breaches our contract and it breaches the Essential Services Act and in our view, why we have now decided to come public is that we are at a loss as to how come we have not had any intervention of any sort from the Ministry of Labor and the Government of Belize.  We have been categorized as an essential service.  In times past when it is stevedores who are responsible for the shutdown of business at the waterfront, everybody, all hands on deck, we are being bombarded with calls, “what are we doing?”  We are interrupting the flow of business, services, commodities, et cetera.  The people at the Ministry of Labor and the Government of Belize are aware of every detail of this contention from the time it started.  They know everything, they’ve seen the exchange of correspondences.  They have yet to weigh in.  And so, what has happened is that not only are our members being deprived of their rightful legal opportunity to earn a living and the nation of Belize being deprived of the flow of goods, but what is happening is that we are being deprived of any sort of intervention coming from the state that is usually present whenever we have any type of disturbance down at the [waterfront].  It’s as though the referee has left the game.”

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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