And while the United Democratic Party hit the government on one side, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize hit the government on the other. President Luis Luke Martinez told Love News that the decision of the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government to switch from BTL to SMART telephone service is ridiculous. Martinez says the government should support the national telecoms giant instead of SMART. He says that any ministry that is contemplating doing the same should immediately cease.
Luis Martinez, PSU Rep, Commission of Inquiry: “Criminal. Ridiculous. Foolish. Everything you could think about negative about it. Let’s put some commonsense into this, make the layman understand, people sitting down at home in front of their TV to understand. Government acquired that asset, it became a national asset. The government is still paying for that asset there. So government owns over 50% of BTL, Social Security owns over 30% and you put all of that together the people of Belize own over 80% of BTL. Now you will take that service and you will go and give it away to a private entity, tell the Belizean people, I want the Government of Belize to tell the Belizean people what kind of sense that makes. What do you want to do ? Make BTL fail so you can sell it to the capitalists and then he win if you throw the coin and it falls on heads he wins and if you throw it on tails he wins ? And the poor people get the bukut every time ? No man we have to safeguard our national assets. We have to safeguard the investments in our national assets and so the message to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, whatever agreement you went to make with Smart for Ministry of Local Development and any other ministry reverse it immediately. And if you have intentions to bring on other ministries on that Smart program take it out of your minds because we will not allow that to happen. And I want to appeal to every single Belizean because you like to make the mistake and think that ‘Oh it’s the unions that are fighting for this and the unions are fighting for that.’ when we make these requests people it’s for the benefit of every single Belizean. It’s for the benefit of you, your children and your grandchildren, that is what we need to do. Demand the Government of Belize to be responsible with the national assets of this country.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Okay so I get your point but it’s not like they’re switching over a thousand or ten thousand phone numbers. The CEO said that the packages from Smart is way cheaper and will allow the officers to do their job more effective.
Luis Martinez, PSU Rep, Commission of Inquiry: “That’s not a reasonable argument, that’s not a reasonable argument in no way shape or form. Brother you own the national asset, why will you go and give you business to a private organization ? Of course the Government of Belize could lobby a new package with BTL but you will give up every business brother? That is stupidness. It’s foolishness.”