I read with great interest, the article in your Amandala of Tuesday, February 28, 2017 covering the very “historical” Address given by your Publisher, Mr. Evan X Hyde, at the Christian Workers Union AGM.
For the unions and workers of our country, I take this opportunity to clarify the statement of information in the article, that the “General Workers Union” (GWU) faded away.
In the early 1960’s, I joined my late uncle, Nicholas Pollard, Sr. and other family members to form the existing Christian Workers Union. In 1963, I left the CWU because Nicholas Pollard decided to bring in the late Ray Lightburn as president to curry favours from the then Minister of Labour, the late Lindbergh Rogers.
In 1963, the GWU was under the control of the Hon. Herman Jex, president and Herman Herrera as general secretary. Their office at the time was at the corner of Queen Street and Barrack Road. I applied for a job with the GWU and was taken on, on commission, to organize workers and collect union dues.
That same year of 1963, General Secretary Herman Herrera resigned and left the country. I was then elected to serve as Belize City branch secretary and subsequently as general secretary. Herman Jex, the president, left the country and the late Thomas Martinez of Corozal became the president.
The executive of the union, along with its branches, decided to change the name of the union from General Workers Union, adding on to it the word “Development,” making it the “General Workers Development Union.”
As its general secretary, along with the president and other officers, we organized and developed the GWDU to represent all of the Belize Estate (except the stevedores and longshoremen) in Belize City, Gallon Jug and Hill Bank, Mangro Creek and Big Creek, and all of Belize Electricity Board – countrywide, Public Works, Brodies and the then Fort George Hotel. I served in the capacity of branch and general secretary from 1963 to November 1, 1975.
Upon my leaving, my assistant general secretary and secretary of the Orange Walk Branch, Mr. Filigonio (Domingo) Perez, took over and after a few years, yes, the General Workers Development Union faded away to oblivion. So much so, that not even the name GWDU is heard.
Thanks, Brother Evan, for educating our people about something that I did for years as a labour leader.
Adolphus A. Rosales