Posted: Monday, July 26, 2021. 12:10 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Last week the Government of Belize announced that the handling of sugar exports would be relocated from the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) in Belize City to Big Creek in the south; a decision which has left stevedores and other members of the Christian Workers Union (CWU) facing a reduction in their income by 50 percent. Today, Albert Division Areas Representative Tracy Taegar-Panton, said that she has met with the CWU and feels that the conversation surrounding the issue needs to remain focused on important matters.
“Let us not fall into the trap of letting the battle between the Port of Belize Ltd and the Big Creek Port be a battle between Stevedores and Cane Farmers or about race, Creole versus Persons of Spanish descent. There are bigger fish to fry in this conversation and some serious economic interests at the heart of the conversation,” Taegar-Panton said in a Facebook post.
She stressed that the stevedores and cane farmers are either collateral beneficiaries or collateral victims in this debacle, who stand to either benefit or suffer from the situation, but that the responsibility to safeguard the livelihood of working Belizean men and women ultimately rests with the Government of Belize.
Following government’s decision to move the handling of sugar vessels to Big Creek, Evan “Mose” Hyde, President of the CWU, noted that the decision was taken despite there being a memorandum of understanding in place, which was signed back in 2006, which stipulated that the Big Creek port would not affect the livelihoods of those working at the PBL.
Hyde also said that the union was disrespected in the way that the situation was handled, as the government never formally engaged the union to say that it would make such a decision or give a justification for it.
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