Four of the six former employees of Belize Water Services (BWS) who were fired earlier this year and are suing the company for wrongful termination called their first conference. Two colleagues were not present and neither were attorneys Mrs. Antoinette Moore and Mr. Kareem Musa due to unforeseen circumstances, but the workers relished the opportunity to tell their side of the story for the first time. Don Gillett says that they are urging the company to settle the matter out of court as asked by Justice Courtney Abel, before the trial which is scheduled for November 29.
Mr. Don Gillett- Former BWS Employee
“We are looking at compensation we feel that because based on the actions this far to single us out, we were handpicked by this management for whatever reason. So, you could imagine the atmosphere if we go back now, sued the company, having been terminated for nothing at all and going back there, it doesn’t make much sense to us. So, we are just seeking compensation…so, we could move on”.
Reporter: “What does your lawyer say? What advise has she given you in regards on the problem solving scan?”
Mr. Don Gillett: “She is saying the same thing the judge is saying; we need to settle, the quicker, the better. Just because the company seems to have access to the fund, they will want to stretch it out for I don’t know…whatever reason but we are willing to go; we didn’t do anything wrong and the judge will quote or will prove what we quote. So, if we end up to the CCJ, we don’t mind; that’s the road we plan to take”.
There is no word on whether a settlement has been agreed, as we were made to understand that the company’s board of directors wants to take a look at any proposal. Mr. Michael Novelo, another of the fired employees, says that in the wake of the scandal surrounding their firing, he even has trouble paying his water bill at the place where he used to work.
“Everybody fraid…ah go in deh you fuh I go pay meh bill ca’ ah I no do BWS nottin wrong. I go pay my bill…like the poor gal even fraid fuh preit my bill. Deh no even look pahn you eenah yoh face dehn puo’ pipl, you cuh sih how dehn look frightened. When dehn see yu pahn the street, dehn mek much of you…or dehng ketch you dah wa lee bar, you dih heng dehng go seh deh sing wah truth. Learn dih ting man!”
So frightened that according to Journett McKoy, who had been working with the company for 23 years prior to his termination, he cannot even get a letter of recommendation to work elsewhere.
Mr. Jounett Mckoy-Former BWS Employee: “When I call or ask and they told me that management, a chair manager send that to give me any…I don’t know for what reason, but he send that to give me any”.
Reporter: “For how long have you been working since this happen?”
Mr. Jounett Mckoy: “Me, I’ve been working there from 1989”.
The order to freeze them out, the ex-workers believe, came from high up in the company.