As we reported on Friday evening’s news cast, four former employees- Abdul Nuñez, Herman Blease Sr., Carla Casimiro, and Ms. Carla Budna- are pushing a lawsuit for defamation against the Kolbe Foundation because of the contents of a 12-minute documentary was produced for the Belize Central Prison Coalition which alleged human rights abuses on the part of the Kolbe Foundation. Reports had it that earlier this year, Ivan Williams, Labour Commissioner had issued a report which, according to Mr. Abdul Nuñez, exonerates their position.
“They actually just stood way up by refusing to file or defend, and as a result, there is what is called a default judgment against us. We have since taken the steps to write the General Legal Counsel to try to get some sort of help with the unprofessional behavior of some of these lawyers that we try to get to assist us…and any time you speak up or speak ordained, people of influence and stature in one community or in a society, they try to get you dubbed down in a legal libelous matters, so that they can silence you. This whole case is about silencing the Belizean coworkers, it had nothing to do with anyone of us individually”.
As we had reported on Friday, two of the attorneys, allegedly Mr. Arthur Saldivar and Mr. Brian Neal, refused to file their defense. The court then was forced to rule a default judgment against them. Mr. Nuñez explains what steps they have taken since then:
Mr. Abdul Nunez: “We feel that we have been exonerated by the Commissioner’s report; in their highlight, all the management problems with the 33 employees that have been terminated, and there is no system in place to even…first of all, accept their applications, vet their application, give them back a letter of acceptance of their application. So, the whole application process was erroneous in the first place. It’s all there in the Labour Commissioner ‘s report which should have been a substantive order and not a mere declaration. The worker that have been terminated by the KOLBE Foundation need to be compensated; they need to be reinstated, and nobody is looking into that matter.
Mr. Nuñez explained why they have not made any attempts to contact those two attorneys and explains what options they are exploring.
Mr. Abdul Nunez: “We haven’t heard anything from them and I think, trying to make any attempts to talk to them again would be like throwing water on a duck’s back. So, we are trying to get other legal advice. A couple f attorneys come forward and express their interest to help. We are exploring those options at this time and when we confirm, then we will be able to give you something definitive”.
The case with the Kolbe Foundation is still before the court and so Nuñez reserved further comment. It is to our understand that Nuñez and the other three former employees are in the position of making an appeal.