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Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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Dark Clouds Rolling In…

The rumor mill was busy churning this past week and sent teachers and public servants all across this country in a colossal frenzy. If you’re a teacher or a public servant, there’s a fairly good chance that you’re feeling quite nervous, frantic or perhaps even agonized at this point in time. See, about a couple weeks ago, rumors swelled about a possible salary cut for teachers and public servants. While the details are sketchy and information is shady, the numbers regarding this purported cut, wavered between 10% and 20%, but nothing official or concrete came, and it continued to spread as rumors.

Well, despite it merely being rumors and nothing definitive has been said about it as yet, teachers and public servants everywhere aren’t taking it so easily. They are nervous, and quite frankly, they are on edge after hearing such notions floating around. And with good reason, we have to understand why! Be it a 10%, 15% or even a 20% cut, that counts towards some people’s mortgage or loan payments. That equates to the rent, or that is what subsidizes the groceries or the utilities. So we have got to understand why they are alarmed and even frantic.

Now, while this is the constant refrain that is being tossed around, the leaders are being very cagey with words as it relates to this “rumor,” as they call it. But hey, this is Belize, folks, and you know what the old adage says: “if da nuh soh, well da nearly soh!” So, teachers and public servants are very much concerned, because even if you’re severely visually impaired, you’re able to see the clear handwriting on the wall. It’s coming! Yes, the proverbial dark clouds that are widely feared and much speculated on, are rolling in … a pay cut is coming!

Now, don’t think this writer selfish and in favor of the teachers and public servants, because truth be told, a lot of our people have lost so much already and are suffering much strife. A lot of people have already been made to give up more than they could have afforded to, and have made sacrifices long before. However, the point I’m trying to make is this: the teachers and the public servants have worked and have continued to work throughout this pandemic and in essence have toiled in earnest to carry the country.

In more instances than one, the teachers and the public servants have made sacrifices to keep the country going. After all (though in my mind a middle class in Belize is non-existent), they are regarded as the middle class, and they contribute much to the country. They do not only toil and labor laboriously, but they contribute a whopping 25% of their taxable income to the public purse. Additionally, they have already given up their increments and deferred it until a later, more economically stable time.

So maybe, instead of a looming cut that hovers over teachers and public servants in this already gloomy and desolate time, perhaps it’s time we have that all too important discussion that has been dodged for quite a while. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time we talk about tax reform — about balancing the equation and leveling the playing field. I mean, this “middle class” contributes a massive 25% and, well, there are others who pay a meager, measly 6%!

Furthermore, for far too long we have run our government and operated our system on a loophole basis. How about closing all those loopholes and bridging the revenue gap? Yes, yes, you’ll say that you need immediate relief and so you cut the teachers and public servants who already carry the country, but tackle the loopholes later on? Cha, man! There’s nothing that’s equitable about that. We need to put greater impetus and pressure where they need to be and seek to reduce the burden on our teachers and public servants and seek ways to offer them reprieve as opposed to crippling them!

Now, inquiring minds would like to know, if the rumor pans out and teachers and public servants are made to take a cut, how will they function and meet their obligations? I mean, inquiring minds would like to know: if they undergo this purported cut, to help (you) to bridge your deficit, who will help them to bridge theirs? I mean, inquiring minds want to know: if this cut is imminent, given that they will be bringing home less money, will they still be required to pay their utilities? I mean, inquiring minds would like to know: when this cut becomes effective, can they default on their loans and mortgages without penalty, since you cut into their livelihoods?

Hmm… I tell you, this is a tricky one! It’s mind-boggling in more ways than one. But, aye, it’s only rumors they say, but I tell you, look up — there are dark clouds that are shuffling in. And unfortunately, the already worn out gears that one possesses may not be able to withstand the gales that these clouds are bringing. So I could understand why the teachers and public servants are nervous. It’s like you see the storm coming, but the weather man says, it’s only rumors. But it’s coming, and when it comes, they will use (us) to save (them); only hopefully we withstand and survive after these dark clouds roll in.

Well, I guess, it’s every man for himself and God for us all. God permits, we will survive!

Unchained Reflections Of a Liberal Pragmatist!

God Bless Belize!

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