An application for an injunction was filed at the Supreme Court this morning to stall the redundancies at the Port of Belize. Arguments were heard from the Port of Belize and the Christian Workers Union. The two-hour-long court session which was before Justice Sonya Young ended with a deferred judgment until Friday. The attorney representing PBL, Godfrey Smith says that he was satisfied with the case he presented even though he was just made aware of it this morning.
Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Port of Belize Limited: “The arguments put on behalf of the Attorney General and the Labor Commissioner was that there was a breach of the statute, failure to consult; we said no there was no failure to consult but if that is the breach that you’re saying the Port did the remedy for that is another compelling consultation not an order for reinstatement. It is the workers who need to bring that case and I think if you were in court you would have heard the judge ask that very question so in a nutshell that’s it. In our view the Port of Belize has scrupulously followed the letter and spirit of the law. I am satisfied based on what I have seen that the requirements of the act have been fully complied with by the Port of Belize and the requirements are in fact misunderstood by the other side. It’s not for us to debate it here, it ultimately will be determined in court.”
During the court session, Union members and stevedores were outside gathering. Following the court session, we were able to speak to Evan Mose Hyde, President of the CWU.
Evan Mose Hyde, President, Christian Workers Union: “We are not here for a quick little one night stand at justice we are here for the long journey and our members will stand and I think we will wait until Friday but do understand that there are other things that we will be doing. As you know we believe that we will have to take the matter of the 10% reduced earnings to the court because they have effectively stalled that by what they have done with their refusal to be a part of the tribunal and so now we have to take that matter to the court to have them decide on that matter. We also have the very painful, the very inhumane, the very diabolical reality that played out at the Port today where people standing up for their hard earned earnings were essentially rubber bulleted and tear gassed while sitting down waiting to have this process take place and that’s another matter that we’ll have to discuss with our counsel on how we proceed with the fact that a number of our members were shot multiple times. We have one of our more outspoken personalities at Port shot nine or ten times with rubber bullets in the back; we have to believe that he was targeted. This is not a thing that we’re going to just leave just like that because not one single member deserves to have experienced that kind of hostility from the state, the arm of enforcement for the state while on their worksite standing up for what is right and what is just.”
Attorney Anthony Sylvester is representing the Christian Workers Union.