Thursday, April16th 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: 2nd Vice President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) Audrey Matura-Shepherd last week went on record to call for the removal of Senator Ray Davis as representative of the trade unions in the upper legislature, following his vote of abstention on the Petrocaribe Loan Act of 2015. Davis is now saying he wrote to the body asking for guidance on the vote but did not receive a response. Matura-Shepherd responded today, saying that nothing excuses how Davis voted and says he failed to exercise his common sense based on the Congress’ previous position statements which she contends he knew about.
Matura-Shepherd says she does not believe that the veteran unionist needed his hand to be held on the issue. Davis has also noted privately that the unions hold positions on the Board of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) and that teachers and public officers directly benefit from the funds used to start the National Bank of Belize. Her pointed response is that Davis never raised these issues with the Congress, saying instead that he felt “pigeonholed” by having to vote on the issue and being identified as being in favour of or against such an important bill. If that is so, she said, then Davis should have brought the issue to the Congress’ attention and submitted his resignation. Other union representatives, she pointed out, have reported back frequently to the Congress and provided the information they needed to develop their position.
And she looked disbelieving when the allegation that she is maneuvering to replace Davis herself in the Senate was raised. A former Senator with the United Democratic Party, she dismissed a return to the upper chamber out of hand, saying that she does not need a position to have a platform. She insists that she will continue to speak out on issues, from a strategic position where she can make a difference whether in favour or against, and derided her critics as being either cowardly or compromised and not able to speak out as she does.
The NTUCB continues to deliberate on the fate of Davis’ Senate position.
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