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The inflammatory comments by Public Service Union President Eldred Neal in a private conversation with former NTUCB President Marvin Mora and former NTUCB executive Lorelei Westby which was clandestinely recorded and has been leaked out to the public, has attracted a firestorm of criticism and public outrage. As we reported last night, Neal is facing an insurrection in his Union with 9 members of his Council of Management demanding his resignation.


In case you are wondering what could be in the audio that has triggered such outrage, we will be playing some of the recording in which Neal claims there is a culture war in his union body and makes remarks directly on those members who are Garifuna.


With his leadership under question, Neal has gone on the defensive, granting media interviews and responding to the view that his comments are a portrayal of bigotry. He claims the basis for such conclusion is fraudulent.


Screen_Shot_2017-05-16_at_8.21.48_PMEldred Neal - PSU President


“In fact I received that letter on Friday and I was made aware of this situation over a month ago, in no way have I had any issue trying to purge the council of any race of individuals, I knew the behavior of some persons at the table had brought a number of issues to question and in fact my doing so has led to this situation.  I was given a letter and in fact today two members who have signed this letter and in fact had one of the individuals who was the main player circulating this letter to members met with me this morning and ask me my positon and this and I shared with him for any kind of statement to come out suggesting that I, Eldrid Neal, is racist, a bigot in any kind of way is so unlike who I am and in fact I said to him with all that has occurred I am more amazed that you did bring this matter to me rather than you pen it to paper and seek signatures for something like this so it is obvious that it is something far more than just what is stated in the letter.”

 

 Reporter


“So now will you resign?”


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“Of course not, I was elected by a constituent that reflects over 3000 employees and if I am supposed to look at the entire public service representative that constituent holds over 12000 employees, nine individuals being misled alright by a recording or text of any kind or any form to suggest that I am against a specific group of people in this Union is totally wrong, its fraudulent and it needs to be called out.  I had a discussion with Loreli and brother Mora, I can still refer to him as brother because I’ve sent him a text and he verified that he had no doing, a number of persons has lost the privy for me to refer to them as brother and sisters in this movement, and when that occurred with the removal of Senator Davis and the famous We Did It, Facebook page came out they brought questions to me but I didn’t realized that the matter existed that far.  NTUCB reflected the kind of and still reflects the kind of behavior that we are not professionals and if I am having a discussion about the next person to represent NTUCB and this is the content in which this conversation was recorded; brother Mora, Myself and Loreli had a discussion and it is obvious Mora said it’s not him she recorded it and if you noticed her probing questions because we are all intelligent people here they were like to lead somebody on but I spoke with no conviction, am not a drinking man so I was not drunk and from the time it was brought to my attention some months ago by one of my Union members cautioning to be careful how I speak is said whatever I would have said  in any audience I will stand and face the judgment for it.”


In the audio, Neal is heard characterizing a problem in the Union as culture war. The discussion went further, with Mora offering a historical reason why he believes the Garifuna people have held something against creoles. In his response, Neal said the comments have to do with individuals only.


Reporter


“Do you feel as you suggest on the recording that there is a kind of Mafia controlling the PSU and that it originates from Stann Creek?”


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“I wouldn’t go that far my brother, no, no, no, it would be not Mafia, it has a number of folks out there and, let us move this matter a little away from PSU, lets speak about what the Union represents in this country, we are supposed to be representing workers, we are supposed to be representing the rights of workers, if I am having a discussion and I want to take you back to this day of discussion and to be honest outside of you calling me and today and speaking to what was said verbatim I’ll tell you, you can’t take bits and pieces of any session or discussion and disclose it and say this is the case, you are up to some serious mischief so it is mischief making lets travel that part, I wouldn’t turn and call it mischief anymore this is divide and conquer at its best. And the issue on hand if someone can sit with you and have a conversation in which education is occurring there is a back and forth between brother Mora and myself about understanding why this assumption exist that one group must lead and one group must follow and brother Mora and I was speaking about the history that got us into this position and a lot of people are not even aware of it and try to make that be cultural, I am sorry Belize in no way this brother Eldrid Neal, and as I said to Pastor this morning for you to have taken it to the extent of writing me an asking me to resign on this ground you have no idea from where I came.”


Reporter


“However you can’t run from the remarks you made these are damaging remarks about an ethnic group in Belize saying that they are trying to control everything that is what you said?”


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“Don’t speak about the ethnic group speak about the players at the table the individuals in that room are a reflection of that ethnic group and their behavior at the table is wrong.”


According to Neal, the real issue has to do with the involvement of former interim PSU President Jacqueline Willoughby, who only a few months ago held the post of interim NTUCB President. He claimed that his support for Willoughby and also his nomination for her to represent the PSU in the umbrella organisation has led to attacks on his leadership.


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“I was doing canvasing for the election to be held at the special AGM to get Jackie Willoubie elected like I say she has the most knowledge in the country as it relates to public officers and their rights and she exercise this knowledge with the kind of passion for people and the love for service unlike any other person I know and she asked me to support her some year and a half ago a next young lady came up to me and asked me to support her and I indicated I cannot because Jackie had asked already some issues transpired inside NTUCB we know brother Mora was hoisted by the red or the writ of the constitution and I would have supported brother Mora openly so the first Vice-President had the chair and in fact that’s the biggest issue so don’t let this matter today be about Eldrid and any racial comment this matter is about NTUCB and its way forward. By removing me as the President, you probably think they will remove sister Willoughby, she sits at NTUCB, she is a delegate whom I asked to represent PSU and the only way you could remove her, I was called some weeks ago and was told if I want to see all this mess go away just remove sister Willoughby, this is the game, sister Willoughby has been the one person who has been sitting at the table and asking for us to be held or to be accountable and if we cannot be accountable how could we then at this level ask the government to be accountable and I told them I’m in support of sister Willoughby I was told but you are going to risk that knowing that no one is going to support her whilst we are saying if you put this person we will support her I said because with me, is my word.”


So will he do as the letter signed by 9 members of his Council of Management demands and resign? Well, if you know Neal you already know the answer.


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“In fact I received that letter on Friday and I was made aware of this situation over a month ago, in no way have I had any issue trying to purge the council of any race of individuals, I knew the behavior of some persons at the table had brought a number of issues to question.”


Reporter


“So now will you resign?”


Eldred Neal - PSU President


“Of course not, I was elected by a constituent that reflects over 3000 employees and if I am supposed to look at the entire public service representative that constituent holds over 12000 employees, nine individuals being misled alright by a recording or text of any kind or any form to suggest that I am against a specific group of people in this Union is totally wrong, its fraudulent and it needs to be called out and if you hear a conversation again not in its entirety as to suggest that I am saying only certain branches are receiving anything am I lying.  PSU have embarked on a loan through the Public Sector Workers Trust, I took presidency if fifty loans were distributed forty went to Dangriga am I not supposed to say we are not going to render any more loans until we bring parity across the entire country and quote me on this, this is reality and I had to say we have to bring some sort of parity to the Union it can’t be such an open imbalance.”

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