Mayor makes candid response

The man at the center of the maelstrom sat down with reporters after the crowd had dispersed, and laid it all on the line in a half-hour interview. Addressing the subject of the impromptu protest itself, he stated that while the issues raised are legitimate and the Council is more than aware of the workers’ plight, their decision on Monday took them over the legal line. He drew comparison with the protest of the Asian community after two murders of shopkeepers in April of 2011.

vlcsnap-2014-08-05-09h18m09s199Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City

“Now you ask me about workers and Asian protest.  I was at court the day when those people protested, and that was a very peaceful demonstration.  Yes, it was a large group of people, but nobody put garbage bags in front of the Supreme Court.  Nobody accosted City Council staff.  Nobody went on in a very rambunctious way.  If persons want to peacefully demonstrate, that is your constitutional right.  But no one has the right to take garbage bags and throw it on the street, going in an unruly way, to have projectiles and different things like that, and to carry on and yell.  I was out there, and the people who protested that day did not yell anything into the Supreme Court.  It wasn’t disruptive on the Supreme Court.  City Council provided traffic coordination in relation to that, notwithstanding the fact that there was no permit granted.”

Mayor Bradley continued to insist that the fate of the BML workers is collectively theirs and the company’s responsibility, and that enough lead time had been given to ensure that the workers could start planning for life without BML. But it was telling that when PLUS News pressed him as to when was the last time he spoke with BML’s management, he could not give a satisfactory response, despite maintaining that he had always spoken with them.

Mayor Darrell Bradley

“This is something that happens every year.  It is something that happened before me.  Thankfully it’s not going to happen after me, because the contract won’t be renewed. 

Geovannie Brackett
“Do you have any intentions to speak with Mr. Ellis or management of BML?”

Darrell Bradley – Mayor, Belize City
“I’ve always spoken to them.”

Geovannie Brackett
“He have said that its been months that you have spoken to him.”

Darrell Bradley – Mayor, Belize City
“I’ve always spoken to them.”

Geovannie Brackett
“When was the last time you’ve spoken to them?”

Darrell Bradley – Mayor, Belize City
“I can’t remember.”

Likewise, he was unable to say when the Council would start paying again. But he did make clear that the current contract does not, in his view, provide value for money.

Darrell Bradley – Mayor, Belize City
“All I am saying is that coming closer to the January 2015 deadline, I expect that there will be increase contentions and frustrations, because you are going from one system where you are paying and exorbitant amount of money to one supplier, to a system where you don’t have to do that, so I understand that the employees are concerned.  I would be concern likewise. I understand that the company is concerned because they have been in a sense bleeding us for 10 years and now that that is coming to an end. That gravy train is coming to an end,  they are holding up their hands and saying what.  But we are saying that our obligation is not to you contractor BML, not to your employees even, contractor BML.  Our obligation is to every single resident of Belize City, and when we account to every single resident of Belize City, I can tell you that I can spend that seventy-eight thousand dollars on better ways, and ensure that you get a cleaned city.”

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