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Stevedores Facing Issues at the Bank After the Approval of PBL’s Interim Injunction

Tonight, the Christian Workers Union and some stevedores are facing a dilemma as monies in their bank accounts have been frozen and some transactions are being questioned. It’s a situation that came about following the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the Port of Belize Limited (PBL) an interim injection on GOB’s ex-gratia payment to the Christian Workers Union (CWU). The court ruled that a pause be placed on the 1.5 million that was paid to the union by the government. The problem is that when the ruling was handed down by Justice Lisa Shoman, the CWU had already begun disbursing monies to the stevedores. President of the CWU, Evan “Mose” Hyde met with the media this morning where he shared the situation with the banks.

Evan “Mose” Hyde, President of CWU :“As a body, our guidance was that those disbursements should be done in a way that our members would be able to access it. Obviously what has happened is that that access has been interrupted in multiple instances. It has been made complicated. What should have been a day where, a process that is completely upfront, an agreement that was completely publicised, put out there, became what it became. From the standpoint that we had to appreciate the fact that our, the employer of our members, based on our understanding, is also has interest in banking and a great number of our members, unfortunately if you ask me, have accounts tied in to the banking interests of their employer and we could not give guidance that based on how the employer was acting and their representatives on their behalf this extraordinary, pornographic effort to take away the very little when they have so much, our guidance was that it doesn’t make any sense to do transfers into your accounts and that has created multiple complications. I believe that our members have unfortunately to get their cheques cashed, essentially, have had to pay exorbitant fees to various agencies that do that in our view. The whole aspect, and I have to say this. It might not show on Channel 5 but our advice to our members today is that they need to remove their accounts from those institutions that are related to the employer forthwith. If they have any loan arrangements, of course, they have to keep with those, but you cannot, you cannot do business with people who have acted this way to you because ultimately that’s what we have. The situation that we are faced with is that, unfortunately, people who have deposited their cheques to various financial institutions are now being told by those institutions that they are unable to get any access to their funds. That’s going on.”

According to Hyde, monies belonging to the CWU that do not have any relation to the funds provided by GOB for the stevedores are now being denied by various banks. He also stated that the union has not been able to access the account where the 1.5 million was deposited leaving them without any information on how much monies were already disbursed.

Evan “Mose” Hyde, President of CWU: What has taken place is that even at CWU, we have independent financial institutions not honouring our cheques which are not related to the account in question, not even the same bank and so we, of course, we take legal guidance on this and there is going to be an effort to resolve that but it just shows the end product of a, a very, a very unkind, I’m trying to be pleasant mien, like very unkind intentions from the employer to do its best to make things as messy, to make things as hard, to make things as unpleasant as they have become and we have to put that on the record. We have not even been able to even access our online information. So we don’t even have an ability to do any kind of reconciliation because it would appear, like, to me that online access to the account has been blocked. So we’re not even able to log in so as, right now, as I’m speaking, we don’t know what is left in the account. Obviously there is going to be money left in the account which is under the injunction but we can’t tell you what has actually come out.”

As we noted, the injunction is interim and the matter will be brought up again in the Supreme Court on March 16.