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Caleb Orozco Says a Belize City Credit Union is Stigmatizing People Living with H.I.V

In 2015, during an annual general meeting, the Saint Martin’s Credit Union in San Ignacio, Cayo passed a resolution related to a funeral benefit plan. The credit union told its members that those who have two hundred dollars in their share account will automatically qualify and be enrolled in the credit union’s Funeral Benefit Plan. The resolution came with terms and conditions and under the paragraph “exclusions”, it states that members dying from AIDS, suicide, natural disaster, nuclear war or acts of terrorism, while committing or attempting to commit a crime, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drugs will receive no benefit. Executive Director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, Caleb Orozco says he has an issue with it.

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “Approving a resolution and not having the fine print explained in that resolution is problematic. And two, one must recognize that the devil is always in the details and I’ve come to appreciate for example with my own access to funeral benefit at St.John’s Credit Union that I didn’t ask really what is the detail with regards to exemptions or exclusions in their benefit. I literally just called them a couple hours ago to get an understanding of that and in that regard I’m wondering with regard to St.Martin’s Credit Union to what extent have the properly communicated the details of exclusion and they provided members the opportunity to opt out of this automatic benefit that they provide to members.”

Reporter: The phrase dying due to AIDS  it doesn’t say living with AIDS it says dying due to AIDS meaning I would imagine that your health has deteriorated and like any life insurance company I won’t offer you an insurance package if I know you’re dying. 

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “Let’s talk about the HIV portion. The idea that you would exclude somebody because of their HIV status is problematic.”

Reporter: But it’s not of the HIV status it says you’re dying due to AIDS.

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “Right well let’s talk about the language of HIV then. We know that on the death certificate no one dies of HIV but the symptoms as a result of HIV. To the extent that they would use the death certificate that reflects a more generic description of why people die is different from addressing the issue of hearing rumors of a person has died from HIV.” 

Reporter: And the members have a choice to opt out you know I close my account there and moved to another credit union or bank.

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “Granted but those person who don’t read well, for those persons who are highly illiterate, for those persons who may have a disability of sight, for those persons who may have a problem with hearing those persons may have not gotten the memo.”

We reached out to the credit for comment.