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Mar 28, 2011

Telemedia tries to block union president from entering meeting

On Saturday morning, the scene at the Belize Telemedia Limited compound on Saint Thomas Street became potentially explosive before the start of the Annual General Meeting of the Belize Communications Workers Union (B.C.W.U.). Paul Perriott, who resigned from B.T.L. in February, was prevented from entering the compound. Outraged union members attempted to intervene and the police were called in to quell the unease. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In late February Senator Paul Perriott resigned from his post as senior technician at Telemedia amidst allegations of union busting.  The president of the Communications Workers Union said that he was intentionally transferred to Dangriga in September of last year in attempt to break up the executive of the C.W.U.  That organization held its annual general meeting on Saturday where Perriott was once again elected to another term as president but not before the ruckus that ensued prior to the meeting.

Senator Paul Perriott, President, Communications Workers Union

“Saturday’s meeting was organized by the union assisted by the N.T.U.C.B. I had been hearing from during the week that there would have been a list set up and people would have been, who don’t work with B.T.L. because there was a notice that came out the day before that you had to wear your I.D., your B.T.L. I.D.  If you don’t work at B.T.L. then you don’t have an I.D. so a list should have been prepared for people who had to be a part of the meeting to enter.  As a union member I kept on reminding everyone that I’m supposed to be on the list even though it’s on B.T.L.’s compound and I arrived at the compound there on Saturday morning to go to the meeting and when I got to the gate there the security told me that I wasn’t on the list.  My name wasn’t on the list.”

Paul Perriott

According to Perriott his name was purposely excluded from that list by individuals who were bent on undermining him.  The police were later called unto the scene.

Senator Paul Perriott

“When I arrived at the gate I actually parked, I actually went up to the barrier and they refused me entry into the compound so I actually ended up parking my vehicle right there at the gate and because of that the security guards kept on telling me that I’m not allowing access to people [moving] in or out of the compound.  And I think they are the ones who went ahead and called the police to, I guess, attempt to remove me from the gate or my vehicle.”

Isani Cayetano

“Senator, in your opinion would you believe that this was a deliberate act to sabotage your attempt of participating in that meeting?”

Senator Paul Perriott

“Well, definitely, definitely.  I don’t want to point where it came from but there had to be two parties that would have agreed to my being on the B.T.L. compound and that would have been B.T.L.’s management and also the union.”

Perriott was subsequently allowed unto the compound where the meeting proceeded as schedule.  During the A.G.M. he was re-elected to office as president of the Communications Workers Union.

Senator Paul Perriott

“We wanted to have a person who would be kinda like in the leadership of the union but able to negotiate with management without fear that you know what someday you could be victimized, you could be sent home, you could be sent somewhere else like they did to me in the past so I think that that’s the direction we wanted to go in.”

In the days after Perriott’s resignation, there was dissention in the ranks of the executive of C.W.U. as Telemedia employee, Mark Gladden, also assumed the post as president. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

The union is currently holding its first meeting since Saturday’s election of Paul Perriott as president.

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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