General — 14 December 2004 — by Stephanie Lindo

Twist told us that since Kaseke?s arrest in July of this year in the United States, their working relationship has been strained. In July, both Kaseke and Twist were en route to an Organization of American States-sponsored meeting in Washington, D.C., when Kaseke was arrested by United States officials and charged with ?interfering with the operation of an airplane.?

After she returned from the Washington trip, she wrote a report about the incident, in which she was ?honest,? she told the newspaper. Twist said that since the July incident, she believes that ?Kaseke has had it out for her.?

The Twist-Kaseke working relationship became even more strained when the United Nations Development Program representative, Dylan Vernon, requested that the responsibility of managing the Legal Information Bureaus (LIB) be given to her, she further alleged.

The LIB is a pilot project that is co-funded by the Government of Belize and the UNDP. At present, three LIB offices have been opened across the country, namely in Belmopan, Orange Walk, and Dangriga.

Twist said that Kaseke wanted to have control over the LIB project, especially where the hiring of staff was concerned. In one instance, Twist said, Kaseke insisted that she hire one of his friends, who, as it later turned out, was not an efficient worker.

The Kaseke-Twist strained working relationship reached its boiling point when Kaseke insisted on interfering in the hiring of another staff member for the LIB project, said Twist.

According to Twist, on Tuesday, November 30, Kaseke called her on her cellular phone even though she was at work, around 4:30 in the evening, and told her that she should not hire a particular female applicant for a LIB position. In a letter to Attorney General, Hon. Francis Fonseca, of which we have a copy, Twist said that Kaseke?s reason for not wanting the young lady to be hired was because the young lady?s sister had ignored Kaseke?s advances toward her.

After the first phone call, Kaseke called her nine other times on her cell phone, but Twist said she did not pick up any of the calls.

When Twist and Kaseke next saw each other, on Thursday, December 2, an argument ensued between the two in the corridors of the Attorney General?s Ministry, both Kaseke and Twist said.

The argument caused a series of letters, from both Twist and Kaseke. We reference these letters in an effort to accurately piece together what transpired between Twist and Kaseke that Thursday, which eventually led to Twist?s termination.

The first letter, dated December 3, 2004, was from Kaseke to the Director of Public Services Commission, Justin Palacio, recommending that disciplinary action be taken against Twist. In that letter, Kaseke said that his argument with Twist was sparked by Twist?s attempt to ?privatize? the LIB project.

Kaseke?s letter read, ?Ms. Twist said she wanted to privatize the Legal Information Bureaus in order to open a bank account and to receive $15, 000.00 from UNDP, the agency currently responsible for funding the Legal Information Bureaus. I informed her that any opening of bank accounts had first to be authorized by the Ministry of Finance, so I refused to sign anything.?

Kaseke further explained in his first December 3 letter to Palacio that ?out of nowhere? Twist said he was ?unfair? and ?then said I had to clean my ?shit? and put it together because I was not a Belizean, I was drunk, a drunk, and an alcoholic.?

He went on to say that Twist should be issued a letter for ?gross insubordination without any cause. Ms. Twist is incompetent to pronounce on whether I am drunk, a drunk, or an alcoholic,? Kaseke wrote Palacio.

Kaseke then wrote a letter directly to Twist, also dated December 3, informing her that her ?contract of employment with the Government is being terminated.?

He then wrote a third letter, also dated December 3, again to Justin Palacio. In this third letter, Kaseke informed Palacio of the letter he wrote to Twist, terminating her employment, then said that in retrospect, specifically after reviewing her contract, that the matter should be put to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

In this third letter, Kaseke withdrew the other two letters, saying ?they were written within a tight schedule when I am preparing submissions for court.?

Twist, for her part, also wrote a letter, dated December 3, to the Attorney General, Hon. Francis Fonseca, explaining her side of the story. In her letter, she explained what transpired between her and Kaseke on the Tuesday, when Kaseke had called her while he was reportedly drinking.

In the matter of Twist ?privatizing? the LIB project, Twist said in her letter that the LIB was going to be set up as a ?company limited by guarantee,? and that Kaseke knew of this and had promised to help her ?in expediting the processing of documents at the Companies Registry.? Twist further explained that when she went to talk to him about it, he was ?short, cold, and hostile in his reception? of her.

Twist added in her letter that ?He [Kaseke] said that he would not support the formation of the company if he (not GOB, he) was going to pay the salaries of the staff of the LIBs. He said that the LIBs would have to be a government department and the staff would have to be public officers. Otherwise, he would not pay anyone he did not control.?

And according to Twist?s letter, it was decided on a number of levels that the LIBs would eventually move away from government funding to become a financially independent body.

Essentially, letters written by both Twist and Kaseke show that the shouting match that took place in the halls of the Attorney General?s Ministry was an offshoot of a difference of opinion between the two legal minds over the financial future of the LIB.

Twist?s letter to the Attorney General, Hon. Fonseca, describes Kaseke as ?an alcoholic? who is ?often drunk at work or not at work because he is out drinking or hung-over.?

The newspaper contacted Kaseke, but he declined an interview and would only say, ?I am a professional? and ?I do not have the time to engage in a back-and forth with her [Twist]; I will not give her that pleasure.? Kaseke then hung up on the newspaper.

Amandala also contacted Palacio, but he also declined to comment officially on the Twist-Kaseke issue. The newspaper also tried to contact the Attorney General, Hon. Francis Fonseca, but we were told that he would not be making an official statement on the issue at hand, either, but that he was knowledgeable about it.

Meanwhile, Twist has retained an attorney, Antoinette Moore, and has written to the Belize Advisory Council informing them of her intention to appeal her termination.

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