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Aug 7, 2006

P.S.U. hosts regional meeting of public officers

Story PictureThey were one of the labour groups heavily involved in pressuring the government to enact reforms and initiate several important investigations. But tonight the P.S.U. is in the news for a different reason. News Five’s Janelle Chanona reports.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
For the next week, more than a hundred and forty trade unionists from across the Caribbean will meet in Belize as part of the thirty-sixth annual Caribbean Public Service Association conference.

Dylan Reneau, President, C.P.S.A.
?What is being done here is the sharing of experience and lessons learnt in various countries, because you know what happens in one country comes right around the Caribbean. And I think we are going to have a successful forum, and I look forward to coming up with some positions we can implement in Belize.?

Today the group divided themselves into three separate forums: men, women and young workers. According to Reneau, the touchy subject on the men?s table is domestic violence.

Dylan Reneau
?As trade unionists, we also have to understand that the social fabric, we have a role to play in trying to develop the social fabric in our country. So we will put some focus on the issue of domestic violence, which has been on the rise in our Caribbean countries. I guess because of the economic crisis and that sort of thing puts tremendous burden on people.?

In the room next door, Sandra Massiah was leading the discussion on women and poverty.

Sandra Massiah, Women?s Facilitator
?What we are actually examining are some of the myths that we have coming out about women and work. There are a lot of people who say that a lot of women are working, there ain’t no problem. But yet we are finding that although there are so many women who are actually going out for paid work, and I need to make that distinction, at the end of the day, there are more women in poverty today than ever before. Women are very important part when we are looking at the eradication of poverty and that if we don?t pay particular attention to the needs of women; we will not in any way be eradicating poverty.?

The young workers are addressing an issue that transcends gender: HIV and AIDS. According to Shawna Myers, the public officers have decided to take a more practical approach in their education campaign.

Shawna Myers, Asst. Sec. Gen, P.S.U.
?Instead of people just looking at television, we will bring this thing to their workplace, and since we are their colleagues and their friends, maybe we could get across to them, rather than just having these memos and having brochures, pamphlets like everybody?s doing. We are going to the workplace and individual, and talk to them on a one on one basis and conduct workshops. Even if we?re at the workplace and we?re having a meeting, we could just drop in a couple little words, that?s all. And if we could have condoms available, that would be also okay.?

On Friday, Belize will hand over presidency of the Caribbean Public Service Association to Bermuda.

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

This is the first time in its thirty-six year history that Belize has hosted the annual meeting of the C.P.S.A.

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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