On Tuesday we also spoke to the Mayor outside the Magistrate’s Court, surrounded by several of the workers charged over Monday’s protest. We first asked about the latest developments involving the workers and the Mayor insisted he would not get involved.
“The first issue is the issue of engagement with the workers. I will concede that that is a valid consideration in relation to discussing those concerns that the workers, who are citizens of Belize City, have. I think that that’s a valid concern. That’s something within the context of our discussion that must happen. But, I will say that in relation to a Police investigation, Police matters, those things are beyond what I do and what I have knowledge of. Like, I have no knowledge in relation to what the process has been thus far, in dealing with these people. I know that I was dealing with a case that had an individual, who has a significant amount of charges, and that took a while. But, in relation to the consultation point, I think that there’s a context and a place for that.”
In a show of bravado, Bradley kept his back turned to the group even as he said it was not necessary, and indeed foolish, for him to address them on the issue.
“As you can see this morning, that’s something that I would not have done, because more than likely, because of where the crowd was yesterday, my presence out there would have inflamed the situation further. It would have exacerbated what had happened, which is what you can see is happening right now. So that you are saying that I could have gone out there and spoken to the persons that would have been the worst thing to do.”
“Will you speak to them now, since they are behind you?”
“No. That’s the worst thing that could be done.”
The first formal communication between Belize Maintenance Limited and the Belize City Council took place on Monday, but it was not face to face, rather it was in the form of a letter written by Mayor Bradley to BML managing director Lawrence Ellis. In it he serves formal notice of termination of the contract as of January, 2015, and acknowledges that the Council is, as of his writing, 18 weeks behind in payments. His excuse is the same: the council is in its “slow season” and is not collecting enough revenue to keep current. More importantly, the Mayor indicates that he is prepared to sit down and meet with Mr Ellis, provide a written payment commitment and payment schedule, to settle the arrears within a “reasonable period of time.” Any future communication will go through City Administrator Candice Burke.