Posted: Thursday, May 6, 2021. 6:17 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The newly-formed Union for Development, Advancement, and Prosperity (UDAP) is a response to those who find themselves voiceless, who are not members of the traditional trade union movement.
Its leader, Philip “Fawda” Henry, says he is taking up the mantle on behalf of people who want to voice their opinions but are not able to do so.
Henry and a group of supporters marched from Constitution to Battlefield Park, then to the Pickstock (“Pink Jungle”) Apartments to be formally signed up as members.
When we spoke to him this afternoon, he went after the traditional unions for their selfishness in maintaining salaries when so many poor people on the streets have nothing after losing their jobs to the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes they are being secretly supported by the Opposition and in the case of the teachers, they have not spoken up against the demands of school management for unnecessary accouterments to attend school.
But he did not spare the politicians either, slating the write-off of property taxes to the tune of $90 million, among other questionable moves. He says the unions need to give the Government a break and go after the now-Opposition, more so the citizens of Belize.
Said Henry, “The people [have] the most power; it is not the union. It is the majority of the people who decided to change the administration, for the fact that the last administration was handling us like we were puppets. So, this is the reason we choose to stand today.”
In this political time, Henry is neutral but sympathetic to the current government’s plight, though he says he has stood against both major parties before. However, this one has only had five months or so in power and needs time to get settled.
For obvious reasons, UDAP will not seek rapprochement with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB); they need to get their own house in order.
“The poor people union is more powerful than any union and if this union forms and continues it will be the entire country of Belize, because my phone has been ringing hot to continue this movement, and it will continue. We started [today] with 50 but next week it will be 3,000, 4,000.”
He cites pastor and television broadcaster Louis Wade, who cut his staff amid millions in losses to his business in connection with his activism, both Christian and political.
UDAP has spoken about pooling community resources to continue needed outreach programs, though Henry expressed willingness to continue working with the new Government.
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