Last week Friday we showed you cheques written out to Ramiro Gongora, Gilberto Castillo and Malco Cabrera. Gongora is the Chairman of the Belize Workers Union and Castillo and Cabrera are executive members. These men are being accused of misusing the funds of the BWU. The cheques written to them were cashed using the unions general and membership bank accounts. We received 34 cheques written to Gongora, Castillo and Cabrera totaling more than fifteen thousand dollars. A bank statement shows that there is an overdraft of over twenty four thousand dollars. We have attempted numerous times to get in contact with Gongora, Castillo and Cabrera but none have been successful. We did however manage to speak with one of the founding member of the BWU, Horris Patten. Patten has been following the situation and he says he is pretty upset.
“What transpired really hurt because there are lot of things there and I was quite surprised of workers who elected people to office and paid no attention to what transpired within their own office. The type of work I did, because I remember way back within that 30 years that I speak about where I went abroad on several occasions , writing proposals to build and office and all of that. We were successful in assistance. We got great assistance from Mr. Brownway and Mr. McFarren who were able to buy the land from and from Mr.Brownway who assisted us because BSI helped us with a loan which we had to pay back and the workers, all the workers who were present at that time contributed handsomely to the building of the union office. So it was the people’s money who we sacrificed to get that office there and to see it turn out in this way it really hurts. There is no way to explain that. In my point of view if something could be done to people like these I think we should do something about it. I know we have the tripartite body and the labor office. I think that the members who are presently there must take a stand and do something about these types of things because if we don’t stamp out these things now when they grow up people will continue to do it so it has to be stamped out. I am very much annoyed all the years we had served we didn’t have any kind of behaviour like this within the trade union movement and now this kind of behaviour pop up and I’m quite annoyed by it.”
“Have you spoken to Mr.Castillo, or any of them?”
“No I have not been able to speak with any of them because I don’t think any of them would want to speak with me.”
We understand that a meeting has been scheduled for Friday so that the membership can address the matter.