The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) is standing in solidarity with the Police Association that is currently having a tumultuous relationship with the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams. The NTUCB said that professionalism, respect, and above all integrity are also associated with the Police Department and it can’t fathom the members of this department being in a situation where their freedom to associate is diminished to the point where the high command of the department can make rules, change the rules and technically run or even dissolve the Association. Tough words for the Compol, and today we asked the senator representing the NTUCB, Elena Smith how the organization could help the police association since it can’t unionize.
President of BNTU Elena Smith: “We have the association who should be a body that is able to make decisions on its own and then here we have the Commissioner sort of interfering in the work of the association. We understand and we know that there are certain levels of management that cannot be members of the association and so if that is so we understand that they are a requesting financial report from the President. If I don’t contribute to a fund how do I have the right to request that you provide me with information on that fund. I have no business in that, I do not contribute. It is the members who contribute to that fund and so it should be the members that request a financial report from the association, not anybody outside of that. It is not the Police Department or the Ministry paying for those association dues, it is the members themselves and so there are alot of things that have been happening that makes it seem as if though the post of Commissioner who ever that person is or was that they tend to think that they can then overrule or override the work of the association. That should never be so and so even through the association it cannot be apart of the NTUCB. As a union or as unions we understand their fight and we support what it is that they are doing. We cannot allow our employers to want to come and take over our unit or our associations and not allow the workers to have some avenue for which they can share their concerns and then those concerns can then be responded to by the association.”
Jose Sanchez: “How could you give them support? Would it be in the form of capacity building or something to strengthen them as an association?”
President of BTNU Elena Smith: “ Well the NTUCB has a meeting for tomorrow so that matter will be discussed and I am sure we will see how we chart the way forward. We do understand that the association members cannot, because of what is written in their laws cannot come out right and join any union or give us information of what is happening with them but there are times when the members who are suffering are the ones who share what they are going through and from that end we are able to get information so we will see what it is that we can do but we have to look at not getting to a point where we put these persons in jeopardy.”