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BNTU “mum” about meeting with PM Barrow after demonstration

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 26, 2020– Last Thursday, February 20, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) had a successful demonstration and public rally, and once more, it trumpeted its 6-point set of demands that it is making of the Dean Barrow-led government, for good governance, ahead of this year’s general elections.

The next day, Friday, February 21, BNTU leaders met with Prime Minister Barrow, but did not update the media on what progress, or lack thereof, had been made in discussions regarding the 6-point set of demands being made by the BNTU for good governance.

This morning, we called the NTUCB president, Marvin Mora, who confirmed that there was a meeting with the Prime Minister last Friday.

“First off, it was a scheduled meeting. We had scheduled quarterly meetings with him.” Mora replied, when he was asked why the NTUCB did not update the media on the talks.

“It was not the Congress that met with him; it was the executive of the Congress,” Mora continued.

“We had an agenda to deal with some of the issues that we are trying to iron out, with him,” Mora explained, “Added to that was the list that we presented to him.”

“He gave us his position; however, I can’t discuss that, because I still have not discussed it with my general council, and they have not decided what to do afterwards,” Mora told us.

We asked Mora when he would discuss the meeting with his general council, and he replied that “more than likely, the general council will meet this coming Saturday.”

Mora said that after he meets with the general council, “I could give you guys a full run-down.”

“You said it was a scheduled meeting, but given the atmosphere presently, don’t you think it would have been prudent for the NTUCB to at least put out a press release, to alert the public that there is dialogue going on with the Prime Minister?” we suggested to the NTUCB president.

Mora said that in hindsight, that would have been the right way to do it, but right now they are still trying to analyze the effect of the demonstration and trying to formulate some strategy.

“But you already have your 6-point agenda”, we reminded Mora.

Mora said, “Our strategy is far wider than that.”

Amandala, however, has obtained a copy of the list of those present at the meeting and what was discussed:

1. Dean Barrow – Rt. Hon Prime Minister
2. Marvin Mora – President – NTUCB
3. Patrick Balan – EC – Gen. Sec
4. Sharon Fraser – President – APSSM
5. Lorelei Westby – President – BWSWU
6. Garry Yearwood —BEWU
7. Ella Waight — EC
8. Dean Flowers — EC
9. Keisha Williams — EC
10. Hubert Enriquez — SWU
11. Aldo Novelo – President — BPTU
12. Phillip Tate – Councillor – EC
13. Jamal Kelly – Administrative Secretary — NTUCB
14. Miguel Aguilar – Assistant Secretary General
15. Audrey Wallace – CEO Office of the PM

1. ILO Conventions
The Prime Minister is not aware of the ILO conventions that are outstanding for Belize to sign on to, and he will need an update from the Labour Department prior to addressing this issue.

2. UNCAC – Implementation
The PM indicated that the UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (UNDP) has informed the Attorney General (AG) that the Government cannot proceed with implementation of the recommendations made until the full report is completed. There would be no more funding or technical assistance given if GOB were to proceed with the implementation of the Executive Summary.

UNDP has committed to deliver the Final report within thirty 30 days from February 6th, 2020. Belize should have the report by the 7th March, 2020.

The Attorney General has invited the NTUCB to meet and discuss the situation; a date and time for this meeting is pending. Concerns about the capacity of the AG’s Ministry and the matter of financing will need to be thrashed out at this meeting. If this can be worked out before the next budget reading, the PM will make provisions for finance and assign someone on UNCAC in the Ministry.

A body will be charged to implement the recommendations coming from the final draft; PM gave his assurance that he commits to the speediest implementation.

3. Hugo Patt – Issues on the Land Amnesty
The PM indicated that he does not have a problem with providing the list of persons that are a part of the amnesty programme. The concern was whether NTUCB wanted the listing of all persons that had arrears owed to the Ministry of Natural Resources or the list of those benefiting from the 90-million-dollar tax amnesty. We believe our letters to the Minister was clear in that we want the names and amount owed by those being considered in the amnesty. The PM has asked that the correspondences sent to Minister Patt be forwarded to him and he will get the information to us.

4. Senator Salazar– Special Senate Select Committee Report on Immigration
PM informed that the report is almost complete; however, Senator Salazar is uncertain as to how the report will be publicized because he is alleging that he does not have a quorum.

Feature photo: Marvin Mora, NTUCB president

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