On Thursday we brought you the reactions of Christian Workers’ Union (CWU) executives Antonio Gonzalez and James McFoy to the attempt to oust them from the Union’s leadership by disgruntled members. On Saturday, October 26, Deon Pitter and Raymond Rivers, who are at the forefront of the effort to oust the pair, will lead a congress with the authority of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB). Late on Thursday, after we spoke with Mr Gonzalez and Mr McFoy earlier in the day, the NTUCB’s executive led by Marvin Mora called a press conference of their own. Mr Mora says it is ultimately up to the membership of the CWU to determine its fate.
Mr. Marvin Mora- Executive of the National Trade Congress Union of Belize
“We are pushing through their plans because we realize that we as a congress have a responsibility to open up the avenues to facilitate the process for those members who made the change, who want the change. We will not really influence the process as such. We are merely going to guide the process and open up the avenues for it to happen. In reality, what we want to do, we want to give the membership of the CWU, the opportunity for them to put their house in order; for them to take charge of their union, for them to basically make the changes that they see fit, if they see fit that there are changes to be made; and that decision was taken today, unanimously being supported by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize”.
Marvin Mora admits that the NTUCB has had its own problems with the Union, and gave examples.
Mr. Marvin Mora: “There are two things: 1) It was Antonio Gonzalez and you have it in your records, who call the convention or the conference to be held on the 26ht. So, it isn’t worth against his own word, and 2)most importantly, yes. Article of their constitution says it very clearly that it has to be 2/3 of the membership to call out this meeting. In other words, they don’t need the ratification of no executive. No union can be subjected via constitution, to be held at ransom like anybody including their executive. It is the membership of all unions who, at all times are in control of their union. When they lose that control, then is when we have issues; then is when we have problems”.
And Marvin Mora says that Gonzalez had previously agreed to the date, so that he would be going against his own Constitution if he backed out now.
Mr. Marvin Mora: “Two things again, 1) the union institution says that they ought to hold elections, I think it’s four years. As far as I am concerned, because there are members of the NTUCB and they ought to provide reports to the NTUCB, no official or otherwise convention or conference or annual general meeting has been held since 2001. Therefore, their leadership position, in the view of the NTUCB, based on the Constitution that they are claiming that they are following is null and void. As far as we are concerned, there they may be leaders, but their positions as they claim that they have, are null and void according to their own Constitution. That’s the reason why the NTUCB is facilitating the process for these people to have an executive that is not only functional, but legit’ according to the specifications of their own constitution”.
Mora was not prepared to discuss future steps of the NTUCB, including expulsion or decertification of the CWU, the latter of which would need the Government’s support. But he insisted that the NTUCB would not stand in the way of the membership of the union, whatever their decision was. We plan to be at the Congress on Saturday and have full details on Monday.