BELIZE CITY, Fri. Mar. 19, 2021– The United Democratic Party issued a press release on Thursday, March 18, 2021 condemning the government of Belize’s proposed salary cut and increment freezes for three years. The UDP said that it strongly opposes the proposal and stands in solidarity with the unions of the Joint Union Negotiating Team who have rejected the proposed pay reductions.
The release states, “The UDP strongly opposes this reduction in salaries because it simply cannot be afforded by the public officers, especially at this time when thousands of Belizeans, many of whom belong to the same households as these public officers, have already lost their jobs or means of income, even as the cost of fuel, food, and other commodities continue to skyrocket.”
During an interview, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Patrick Faber shared that despite the trying economic times that the country is facing, the Briceño administration is engaged in widespread, reckless spending.
“That fact of the matter is that even in the plight that we’re in now, the PUP government continues to be very reckless, continues to nonchalantly going about pleasing itself and its party supporters. We’ve seen how many new vehicles, we’ve seen the issue with the Ministry of Health vehicles, and the way in which they operate, we’ve seen the Prime Minister rent two new office spaces when there is a perfectly good office space in Belmopan and Cabinet room in Belmopan,” Hon. Faber said.
Faber commented that while the government will have to take measures to achieve fiscal balance, an outright reduction in salaries is not where they should start.
“We don’t need to start at cutting the salaries of teachers; we may look at strengthening the taxation systems so that the leakages aren’t there, and that may mean tightening up the belt for a lot of things. We can start by collecting some of those government taxes that are overdue…,” Faber commented.
The release from the UDP also stated, “The UDP not only opposes the substance of this government’s proposal, but also condemns the manner in which it is being administered, and the gross disrespect to our teachers and public officers by elected officials who keep making public statements that are uncomplimentary, condescending and downright demeaning. We regard with particular and utter disgust the Prime Minister’s remarks that public officers and teachers have NOT been making any sacrifice (which could not be further from the truth), and the publicly expressed view by the Minister of the Public Service that for teachers (or public officers) to protest is to waste their time.”
The release ends by stating, “The UDP calls on the government to clean up its act, cut the waste at the top, and leave alone the salaries of our teachers and public officers, which is essential for their survival and for the stability of their families, our communities and our country.”