The Joint Unions are going into that meeting tomorrow with a list of demands. The PSU, BNTU and APSSM have created a list comprised of nineteen priority points. Firstly, the unions are asking for written commitment for the full implementation of UNCAC and constitutional protection against its removal. The unions are also asking that other good governance legislation such as the Asset Recovery and Disposal Act, Whistle Blowers Act, Illicit Enrichment Act and Campaign Financing Act be drafted. The Joint Unions want ministers to give up telephone, vehicle maintenance, and entertainment and housing allowances. According to PSU President Gerald Henry, the joints unions also want an audit of the Petro Caribe funds.
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: “Hopefully we’ll be having some very sincere discussions on those tomorrow and we of course will be picking some of the key ones that we would hope that the government will take into consideration and serious consideration and make some commitments on those in order for us to move off this impasse. We honestly, it’s costing us as well you know, it’s not cheap for us to do what we are doing it, and I can tell it’s not, not only expensive from the financial position but it takes a beating on the body as well you know for us to be walking around in this heat you know with masks on and and things like that. It’s a huge sacrifice both financially and physically, emotionally, psychologically, it plays a huge, huge impact on us as well. And so we want to end this impasse as quickly as possible. In fact, we would have preferred not to have to reach to the point of an impasse.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Priority point number 10 “demand audits of the community votes and Petrocaribe funds.” In terms of the Petrocaribe funds is the first time the PSU has asked for an audit?
Gerald Henry, President, Public Service Union: ” Yeah it was one of the things that we have been mentioning for quite some time about Petrocaribe. I think we, we probably missed it in the last couple engagements that we had with the with the government but as you know that has been even, even for this present administration that has been something that they had they had been lobbying for for the Petrocaribe funds to be audited. So I don’t think that they should have a problem with that, simply because it is something that they themselves have been pushing for for quite some time.
We asked Cabinet Minister Dolores Balderamos-Garcia about the unions’ demands. The Minister told Love News that the Attorney General office have been working arduously in drafting and implementing good governance legislation.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous People’s Affairs: “As I said in my budget presentation on the debate of the budget I really firmly believe that all of us must do our part in difficult circumstances. Many people don’t even have a job. And so I want to repeat my call to the teachers. We all will feel a little bit of pain, you know, but I want to really repeat my call, and to say to them that we are in this boat together, and we want the boat to sail good, we don’t want the boat to go into the reef.