BELIZE CITY. Mon. Apr. 26, 2021– Late this evening the National Trade Union Congress of Belize issued a release calling on the Government of Belize and Joint Unions to return to “good faith discussions and mandatory negotiations.”
The release states, “As great leaders, we have a responsibility to settle our differences and concerns for the benefit of all Belizeans and a stable yet reformed economy.”
The release further stated that the NTUCB has expressed its unwavering support for the Joint Unions over the past two months of dialogue and is supportive of their advocacy for good governance and the protection of public officers’ wages.
“The NTUCB recognizes the efforts of all sister Unions who have joined the solidarity movement over the past two months. We also acknowledge the professionalism displayed by the Police Department in ensuring the upkeep of law and order by all Neutral partners, Government supporters and Trade Unionists while peacefully exercising their constitutional rights,” the release said.
In an interview today, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams said that the police force has been ordered to practice restraint in dealing with the unions during this time of protest. He cautioned, however, that they must adhere to the guidelines mandated by law. The protests so far, since Thursday of last week, have been peaceful.
The NTUCB release states that the needed “paradigm shift” must be inclusive of all parters and mutually beneficial across all levels of society.
“Any financial, environmental, social, climatic threat must be dealt with from a position of unity that values our collective knowledge and intervention. Anything contrary is regressive,” said the release.
It further stated that only true social and economic reform can put Belize on the path to sustainable growth and recovery.
The release then lists 9 reforms that it is calling on the Briceno administration to enact as part of a good governance agenda.
These are as follows:
1. A social partnership agreement that is based on a tripartite model —to specifically include the government, private sector and NTUCB. This should be legally constructed and recognized to coordinate the adoption of reform strategies and relative policies and ensure the inclusion of an effective monitoring mechanism.
2. Ratification of UNCAC vis a vis instituting the necessary complementary legislations that include: A) Asset Recovery and Disposal Laws, B) Whistle-Blowers Act, C) Campaign Finance Law and D) Illicit Enrichment Act
3. Removal of Ministerial discretion from tax, land and labour-related issues as well as placing a moratorium on tax exemptions granted by the Ministry of Finance.
4. Rationalization of the Public Sector, compendium of allowances and related perks.
5. Redistricting and review of existing voters re-registration national list.
6. Revisit National Security performance with a focus to address increased crime rates in disproportionately affected communities, target groups and households.
7. Implementation of an aggressive tax reform exercise, the adoption of digital tax processing and strengthening of relative departments
8. Rationalization of imports and adjusting of foreign reserve stressors.
9. Reform policies and investments for the education, health energy and agriculture sectors.