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Internal union squabble turns into racism Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Right now, there is major upheaval within the Public Service Union and the trade union movement in Belize following the recording and release of a conversation between union executives. In it, the PSU President, Eldred Neal, and trade unionists, Marvin Mora and Lorelei Westby, are heard carrying on in an embarrassing conversation in which prejudicial remarks were made against the Garifuna people, and members of the union who are of the Garifuna Culture.

It has caused 9 members of the PSU’s council of management to ask for Eldred Neal’s resignation, and not to offer himself as a candidate for president in the upcoming August elections. The letter that they’ve sent to him accuses Neal of racism against Garifuna members of the council. They also alleged that he is “in the process of conducting an exercise to purge the Council of Management of its Garifuna constituents”.

The most explosive parts of the conversation, which circulated among the members of the union, and then leak to the media, are as follows.

Neal is heard saying, “I find myself [in a] stalemate now. I have a culture war in the PSU… [A] Culture war, Garifuna f**ing versus everybody else. And these people will do anything to maintain power… Around July last year when I went to St. Vincent I spent all my night researching why the Garifuna in Belize behave how they behave. Because this is the only country they behave [like that]…I gone da south last month and the motherf**ers they [are so] fixed [on] position.”

Marvin Mora, the General Secretary of the Belize Energy Workers Union, is heard in the recording saying, “here was a law, there was a law that was enacted in Belize City that did not allow the “Garif” to be here after 6:00.”

There is a dispute as to who said, “So after 6:00 [those motherf**s had to hit the bus and haul they r** outta town!”

Mora is heard saying, “And the creole applauded that law. That’s why they have it against we because we supported that the white people instituted for segregation. But then their revenge came about because when the education system was set up, the people from the different churches set up the thing so that the people who were educated were the Garifunas and they would educate the rest of us…

Mora is heard saying, “The Garifuna are greedy for power, what the “Garif” did, was, the “Garif” decided that, you know what?”

He disputes that he said it as a declaratory statement. He said that he was asking Eldred Neal if they are greedy for power. He said that he was not making a statement of fact.

There is a dispute as to who said, “Every single F**ing head of department in the public service, we gwen after them. So (inaudible) they go into the… PSU, they make sure they go into the f**ing BDF, they make sure they go into the police, they make sure they go into everything. So now you see the culture.”

So, as readers have seen, this is strong prejudicial language, aimed at the Garifuna culture, and it has been condemned-universally condemned, especially from the Garifuna conscious organizations who have spoken out publicly.

Neal has spoken to the press saying, “Whatever you have heard, has been taken out of [context], and I humbly apologize to even have the union be in this level of discontent.”

He claims that he was the target of people who wanted to tarnish his reputation as part of an internal fight over the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. There is a dispute over whether or not Floyd Neal is the duly elected president of the NTUCB. A challenge has come forth that his election to the post cannot stand because his union, the Christian Workers Union has not paid up all financial commitments to be a recognized member of the umbrella union.