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PORT POLITICS 1

UDP & PUP blame each other for Port situation

While the Port of Belize workers are fighting to keep their jobs, the two major political parties are playing the blame game. The United Democratic Party issued a press release in support of the PBL workers and commending the Attorney General for stepping in on their behalf.

While the Port of Belize workers are fighting to keep their jobs, the two major political parties are playing the blame game. The United Democratic Party issued a press release in support of the PBL workers and commending the Attorney General for stepping in on their behalf. They stated that it is, quote, “incomprehensible that a company as lucrative as the Port of Belize, grossing millions of dollars annually, would be forced to terminate employees after a few months of adversity. What is even more unconscionable is the fact that the same investor benefiting from the private ownership of this most important of public asset is at this same time pitching a $400 million expansion and repurposing of the facility. Terminating those who have risked their lives working at the Port while attempting to move a $400 million project is – to put it most kindly -heartless.” End quote. The release continue to say that this attack on the workers is only possible because of the People’s United Party’s pillaging of public resources. They stated that the Port was part of a package swindled to cronies of the Musa-Briceno administration. They also noted the PUP’s silence as the stevedores face off with a company controlled by their financer, Lord Michael Ashcroft. After this release, the PUP broke their silence by saying that the UDP’s politicizing of this very urgent situation is shameful. They stated that the UDP is attacking the PUP and Michael Ashcroft when, in reality, it is the Prime Minister who secretly met with Lord Ashcroft in Miami to orchestrate a settlement for BTL. They are blaming the UDP for indebting Belize to Ashcroft to the tune of almost a billion dollars. The continues to say, quote, “To blame the PUP, out of office for 12 years, for a situation happening at the Port of Belize today is ludicrous! The plight of the Stevedores has been a years-long one, and this UDP Government, with all the power to affect meaningful change to protect the rights of the workers, never once entered the fray. In fact, it is this UDP government who made stevedoring an essential service and in effect, handcuffing and stymying the earned industrial rights of the waterfront workers.” The PUP also spoke of their support for the PBL workers who have been protesting for weeks. They called out PBL for union busting. They are also calling on the government to spend less time on political attack and more time working to actively resolve the situation.