Latest — 17 January 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Jacqueline Willoughby resigns from the PSU

Willoughby, a trustee, cited a “toxic … anti-union atmosphere” in the Public Service Union

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 15, 2018– Longtime trade unionist and former Public Service Union (PSU) president Jacqueline “Jackie” Willoughby, who is a trustee on the union’s Council of Management, abruptly resigned from her post, effective today, January 15.

In a lengthy letter addressed to the union’s Council of Management, Willoughby cited an atmosphere in which “the welfare of membership is non-existent. Everything is sojourned on the personal and ethnic front.”

Willoughby’s resignation letter added, “Attempts have been made to tarnish my reputation even when the truth was known, admittedly by the president. Unfounded personal attacks have been perpetrated by members of this council against me and other members of the union, at the NTUCB table relentlessly.”

The resignation letter expressed: “Our interest should be our membership, not unnecessary power struggle.”

Willoughby said that the constitution of the union no longer represents the rule of law, which was rather “misapplied, or not applied at all.”

Willoughby also accuses the union of sending out checks without the treasurer’s signature.

“As a trustee, I am expected to guard the assets and property of the union. Money is property, yet when questions are asked, there are no answers. I can never stand before an AGM and not be able to account to the membership,” Willoughby wrote.

Willoughby asserted that the council has prevented her and other trustees from doing their duty “and has pounced on me negatively because I want to do it.”

Willoughby described the atmosphere at the PSU Council of Management as “toxic” and “not conducive to the serving of our membership.”

Willoughby’s resignation letter used careful wording in describing the atmosphere at the Council of Management, but she has also taken steps to guard her reputation by hiring attorney Michel Chebat, S.C.

A letter that Chebat wrote on Willoughby’s behalf has been circulating in social media.

Chebat’s letter regarding Willoughby is addressed to the president of the PSU, Mrs. Doreth Cayetano Obeymayer.

The letter stated, “We act for and on behalf of Ms. Jacqueline Willoughby and in relation to slanderous remarks about her, on several occasions, in your presence and by several members of the Council of Management.

“Our instructions are that at least on 3 distinct occasions, i.e., at a Finance Meeting in March 2017, at a later executive meeting at the Union office and more recently, in the vicinity of the Cabinet Room at the Prime Minister’s Office, it has been said that our client stole $45,000 from the Union.

“Although your attention has in fact been drawn to this situation, you have failed to take measures to prevent these slanderous accusations from being repeated.

“We are to advise you that should this matter persist, we will take legal action against all those members of the Council of Management who continued to make such slanderous and untrue allegations about our client.

“We are aware that in fact, you have personally investigated this matter and have found no basis for it. We trust that you will do all in your power to prevent the continuation of this.”

Although Willoughby’s resignation letter takes effect today, she has committed to continuing with some matters that are already in the union’s pipeline, such as negotiations and collective bargaining agreements, hearings and research and outstanding grievance issues.

Amandala made several attempts to speak to a member of the Council of Management for comment, but all our efforts were futile.

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Deshawn Swasey

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