BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 3, 2021– This week the chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Charles Gibson, announced that he and the other members of the commission have decided that they will not resign from their posts at the PSC. He asserts that their resignation would be unconstitutional and would go against the principle of the rule of law. Just this past week, Minister responsible for the Public Service, Hon. Henry Charles Usher, stated that the decision of the PSC members to not step down is hindering the work of the country’s new government.
The Briceño administration has been calling for the resignation of persons appointed by the previous administration to various bodies and posts based on their purported affiliation with the former UDP government. Recently, the Prime Minister told the media that the current members of the Public Service Commission should have resigned since the 12th of November 2020, one day after the PUP’s landslide victory.
Currently, a three-month standoff between the PSC and the Government of Belize is preventing the resolution of several matters of concern that need to be addressed by the commission, according to Gibson. He says that the commission has not met since November 5 and has sent at least 4 letters to the Government of Belize seeking an audience so that they can chart a path forward.
On January 15, the PSC wrote a letter to the Governor General, Sir. Colville Young, requesting his intervention in the matter. While Gibson said that he is aware that the Governor General has no real power to effect any change, the commission hopes that the move will at least trigger a response from the Government.
According to him, since December 9 when the Minister of Public Service refused to give a written request for their resignation, rather than a verbal request, the members of the PSC opted to refuse to leave the commission. Since then communication has completely broken down between the Government and the PSC.
The PSC chairman said that letters were sent by the commission members as recently as the 27th of January, to request a virtual meeting on February 4. As of Wednesday, February 3, no reply had been sent by the Government, according to Gibson.
Of note, Gibson mentioned that members of the commission have informed him that payment of their stipends has not been made since November 2020, about three months ago.