With the deaths of the four Belize Defence Force soldiers, one of the issues brought forth had to do with the fact that the soldiers are not a part of the social security scheme. Love News spoke with Marvin Mora who has been a part of the union movement in Belize on the issue and the lack of representation for the police and soldiers. According to Mora, it has been years since the union has been lobbying for representation for law enforcement men and women.
Marvin Mora, President, National Trade Union Congress of Belize: “Even that is something that the NTUCB had been advocating for many years ago especially through the Public Service Union that even though they should not have certain specific freedoms that they should have the freedom to belong to a specific union and that union should be to a certain degree autonomous and allow them to negotiate for packages such as health packages, insurance, medical and salaries.”
Reporter: Because how would you respond ? I mean you’ve been a part of the union for so many years how would you respond, we had four fallen soldiers and no Social Security benefits?
Marvin Mora, President, National Trade Union Congress of Belize: “That is exactly what we have been advocating for that you cannot have a group of people who are serving the armed forces or serving the police force or any other organization within the government, there is absolutely no way that you can just have them there without a safety net so indeed that is more than unfortunate it is something that we have always been saying it is wrong and it is something that needs to be addressed, the other countries in the Caribbean that they have trade unions and the police men, the security forces, armed forces they are a part of a trade union and they can negotiate. So Belize needs to free their BDF and free their policemen so that they can negotiate and probably this will also start to curb down the whole corruption issue because I mean if you are in a specific situation economically and there are things that you can do that are borderline illegal or illegal more than likely you’ll be inclined to go there if you’re not living a decent life.”
Love News understands that a proposal had been sent to the Prime Minister to have the BDF soldiers be incorporated into the Social Security scheme but a decision is yet to be made.