Features — 30 May 2018

 18 May, 2018

Recent revelations of the records of the Belize City Council during the term 2015-18 indicate how urgent and desirable reform has become throughout our public sector management.

I believe the founding members of the UDP like Joe Andrews and Shubu Brown would never have imagined that unelected functionaries of their party would be pocketing salaries like what are paid in the mighty economies of the world. These men were patriots so their imaginations soared to the glorious sacrifice for the benefit of fellow Belizeans and not for personal financial enrichment.

How would they now react to the information that an unelected bureaucrat was contracted to earn thirteen thousands per month?  Shubu would scowl and condemn with an historical note:  the first UDP mayor earned one hundred and fifty per month for two years. In other words, the City Administrator was earning ninety times what that mayor earned. Her salary per month amounted to more than the wages of thirteen sanitation workers! What were the duties of the lady?

The following comparison of remuneration is made to show how skewed and unrealistic our public financial management has become – how personal and corrupt!!

The City Administrator’s income package is three times that of a Judge of the Supreme Court!

Shall we attempt to draw some good out of evil? Should we not press upon our political parties the need of a poor small country to reorganize its rules for hiring, managing and remunerating all public unelected bureaucrats and employees?  The second most important principle of our Belizean Constitution is Social Justice. A great human rights issue – IF we apply it vigorously to the workaday issues of daily life in the marketplace throughout our land.

Yesterday Mr. Kelly complained that he had applied to the former City Council for consideration for a pension assistance. He had worked from 1967-1999 as a supervisor in the Council’s works Department. He was ignored.

Social Justice requires that we continually with commitment seek to improve the lives of all the men and women who serve us diligently with the work of their hands. It is abominable that a lady, no matter how pretty, earns $13 thousands a month and a sanitation worker earns three dollars an hour.

If they want to be taken seriously, those who aspire to bring about a change by winning the next General Elections, they must start to demonstrate commitment by attacking corruption even now.  The PUP must take to the House a Bill to amend the Act to provide that the new voter’s lists will be reviewed by a judge of the Supreme Court – not a magistrate!  That judge to be appointed by the Prime Minister WITH THE CONCURRENCE of the Leader of the Opposition. This means that if, the Prime Minister seeks to appoint a friend, he shall not be appointed, if Mr. Briceno says NO.

Our Belize must return to the Rule of Law and Order. The beginning of this agenda is to include all those who serve the public in offices run by the National Government and the Municipal Councils to be incorporated under the Public Service umbrella. This would include all the city and town managers and the bureaucrats of the municipal offices. It is highly to be recommended that the post of CEO be abolished from all public offices. Let us return to the old system of Permanent Secretaries. Let us remove that extremely expensive, elitist level of public management that our little country simply cannot afford. The money saved could be pumped into the fund to make all high schools attendance free looking forward to university too!

Oh Beautiful Belize! What a Glorious swamp you may become! May the Almighty give us great leaders – Men and Women for OTHERS – not for themselves!

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Deshawn Swasey

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