Belize Telecommunications Ltd. workers went on strike early this morning. As I type there is no phone, no cell phone and no Internet service country-wide.
The strike has been orgainized by some of the senior staff at BTL. They are unhappy with the government of Belize, Jeffrey Prosser and Lord Michael Ashcroft in their collective "handling" of the ownership of BTL.
So, the strike organizers have convinced the staff at BTL that they (the employees) can take over ownership of the company. All they have to do is strike and shut down 100% of the national and international communications of an entire country. Then the government will "hand over" BTL. The strikers obviously have no idea of international law which forbids union siezure of a privately owned company. The government is in no position to seize BTL.
One huge problem is, the strikers have even shut off 911 service. Pity the poor folk of Belize City. They will have to negotiate at least one night (tonight) of not being able to call for help when it is needed. Of course, we have the same problem all over the country but not the same awful crime rate as Belize City. It is very possible that Friday night will be a night of terror for some people..the bad guys will be in control.
In my opinion this strike is an absolute disgrace. BTL employees here on Ambergris Caye, when asked, even deny knowledge of the strike they're so embarrassed about it. They should be. Whole businesses have been crippled, loved ones can't communicate and it's all because of the collective greed of a few individuals.
The rumour is that the strike will last at least through the weekend. I have never been a fan of strike action even when the cause is noble...it should only be used in the most extreme cases. Here we have a few high-end BTL employees whose aim is to take conrol of a $45,000,000US per year profitable company for themselves. This is no reason for a strike.
Here's what the employees of BTL COULD have done to make their voice heard without pissing off the ENTIRE country...they could have stopped the meters on the phones for 24 hours. Do that twice a week. Everyone would be pretty happy except the greedy guys (Prosser, Ashcroft and certain ministers of Govt of Belize)
Thanks to the fine folks of Island Internet for allowing a lucky few to communicate via. their satellite service. And thanks very much to them for the beer.