Ufa gets another Haize as leader

POSTED: 02/7/12 3:48 PM

It’s me and my team

St. Maarten – “I really want to deal with the pending negotiations.” That is the one concrete thing that the newly elected President of the United Federation of the Windward Antilles Rignaldo Haize was willing to say before he and his “team” sit down to hammer out their “program for the next  three years.” Haize also gave the broad commitment on Monday that he and his team “will try to comply with the workers’ wishes on wages, benefits and proper representation to the best of our ability.”

Haize, whose father Willy Haize is the advisor to the union, will receive support on the board from Vice-President Raphael Arrindell, Treasurer Donald Webster, Secretary Melinda Lloyd, Vice Treasurer Ira Smithen and Vice-Secretary Melinda Lloyd. All five new officers were elected on Sunday.

The new board replaces the one headed by former President Francis Olivaccee, who openly advised that the new officers put their focus on finalizing ongoing negotiations with ADT, Rancho Restaurant, the Towers at Mullet Bay, Atrium, Divi Little Bay, Little Switzerland and Sol. Each of these negotiations has stalled in mediation.

“The mediator is not working hard enough. There are too many keep backs. As a new president I advise that while he takes the duty of president, he also pushes very hard in these negotiations,” Olivaccee said.

Haize plans to catalyze the discussions by meeting with the workers at the various companies to inform them of the latest developments and seeking their input on how to move forward.


Olivaccee and Haize both agree that there also needs to be focus by this board on partnering with the other unions on the island. The former president maintains the belief that the unions under the Windward Islands Chamber of Labor Unions should join them and not the other way around but Haize is reserving comment on his position for after the board discusses it.

“The chamber of labor unions needs to get on board with us because we are a federation and can only be part of a confederation. They should work with us as one,” Olivaccee said.

Asked how he felt Haize said, “This is still to be discussed with my team.”


Both Haize and Olivaccee stressed the need for the union to stay together and be unified. The former president believes his successor and his board should consistently members of the internal boards at each of the companies. Those meetings should be used to educate them about unionism and to update them on current events.

“Meeting each other is very important,” Olivaccee said.

More broadly Haize said, “When you have a team, you’re strong.”

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