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Go Back To Sleep N.T.U.C.B

Go Back To Sleep N.T.U.C.B
February 09
17:35 2020

Go Back To Sleep N.T.U.C.B

“They are willing to accept his proposals on the revival of cost saving and revenue enhancement committees. But, on the activation of a fully functioning Integrity Commission and Public Accounts Committee, the Appointment of the 13th Senator, and the signing of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the BNTU says that Government either needs to expedite those, or show a stronger commitment to them.”
(September 26, 2016)

The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) held a press conference on February 3, 2020 in which they forewarned the Barrow administration that they would ratchet up the pressure if their concerns about UNCAC (United Nations Convention Against Corruption) are not urgently addressed. The NTUCB gave the government until February 20, 2020 to demonstrate its firm commitment to the full implementation of UNCAC.

The mighty BNTU (Belize National Teachers Union) was also present at that meeting but their focus was on the present difficulties they are having with the Ministry of Education relating to the proposed changes to the Education Rules. The BNTU is antsy and that does not bode well for the government!

The NTUCB on the other hand has been moribund for the entire three terms under Mr. Barrow’s UDP. They said nothing of consequence about Penner or about Gapi’s land shenanigans or about what surely has to be officially sanctioned drug plane landings.

Furthermore, they have said nothing of consequence about the squandering of the PetroCaribe loan funds or about the one-sided ICJ campaign or about Aldo’s unreasonable delay in publishing the Senate Select Committee’s report. In other words, they have said nothing about good governance and corruption since 2008 but now in 2020 they suddenly feel inspired such that they threaten possible industrial action?

It would be wise of you to sieve through the NTUCB’s utterances of February 3rd in an effort to understand the real motive for jumping on the UNCAC bandwagon. You may recall that in October of 2016 the BNTU was shamefully abandoned by the NTUCB during its historic strike action.

Operatives of the Barrow administration, including members of Cabinet, were bee-like in their efforts to undermine the BNTU’s 2016 strike. One of the primary arguments made by the Barrow administration, to try and divide the Unions, was that there was no industrial dispute and therefore the BNTU was attempting to step outside of its mandate. To the ruling party corruption and the lack of good governance were not reasons enough for the BNTU to strike. If we are to judge by the NTUCB inaction in 2016, it clearly bought that argument and as a result they left the BNTU all by its lonesome to weather the storm.

So what changed in 2020 such that now the NTUCB wishes to steal the BNTU’s thunder? And on UNCAC too: one of the featured demands of the BNTU in 2016!

It is fair to say that in 2008 Mr. Barrow came to power on the backs of the Unions. It is also fair to say that in 2008 Mr. Barrow promised the Belizean people that his administration would never take on the complexion of the Musa administration in terms of corruption. The Belizean people and the Unions must have thought very poorly of Mr. Musa’s time in office because it took twelve years for the NTUCB to get enough of the corruption in the Barrow administration; and the Belizean people, despite widespread corruption, have not revolted as they did in 2005.

There have been sustained accusations that certain high level union officials have been provoked into inaction by operatives of the Barrow administration. We have heard allegations of land, lush board appointments, scholarships, etc. being used to induce the blindness that the NTUCB seemed to have been suffering from over the last twelve years. With the constant failures of the Barrow administration, the increase in poverty and a frightening public safety environment the voice of the NTUCB has been virtually mum!

There is going to be a new government before the year is out, some say before June of this year. Those that supposedly provide cosiness to the NTUCB will be gone and there will be new blood in Belmopan. Could it be that the NTUCB is using its UNCAC chatter to remind those who shall come to power that they don’t expect to be “left” out in the cold?

They say that we all can’t be concerned about the same issues and that we all can’t be concerned about all issues; so maybe the NTUCB is picking its battles. All one can say from this angle is that actions speak louder than words. The NTUCB’s words up until February 3rd needed more volume but then again since 2008 its actions were even quieter than its words!

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