Annual Caribbean Public Services Association Conference Underway in Belize City

Annual Caribbean Public Services Association Conference Underway in Belize City

The fifty-first annual conference of the annual Caribbean Public Services Association (CPSA) continued in Belize City this week. The conference, which gathers public service unions from thirteen countries within the region, is being held at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza. The official opening ceremony was on Sunday, followed by workshops, and today the official business segment of the conference began. Thomas Letang, General Secretary of the CPSA shared the nature of the discussions at the event.

Thomas Letang, General Secretary, Caribbean Public Services Association: “Okay, what we’re having for this week is our 51st annual conference. So we’re about 53 years, or 52 years, but because of COVID we could not have met and therefore, what should really be our 52nd annual conference has turned out to be our 51st annual conference. We, our conferences are held the location is selected based on a rotating alphabetical order. So this year, for example, it’s Belize’s turn. Next year, the Lord willing, it will be in Bermuda. The following year, Dominica and so it goes. The theme we are looking at the whole question  of public services resilience and really safeguarding public services and making public service unions more resilient. So that is really what our theme is all about. What it consists of, the first two days that is, Monday, Tuesday, we had workshops separate workshops for men, separate workshop for women and for young workers. Today we have joint workshop and the business part of the conference starts today and continues to Friday evening. One of the things that we do at conference is to share our experiences. So you would know that in the Caribbean we all experience issues, challenges that are similar. We come to conferences knowing what the issues are and sharing the experiences as to how they were dealt with. We also come up, we move resolutions, and thinking of a way forward as to how we can deal with some of the issues, some of the problems. And there are a number of issues, the whole question of how people contract work, with the whole question of you know, I mean, the list goes on and on and on. Issues that affect public services and public officers in general. So we come to conference thinking of ways we can go back as an organization, or we can collaborate, or we can work together to come up with solutions.”

President of Belize’s Public Service Union Dean Flowers said that hosting the conference in Belize affords many benefits for PSU members and helps promote Belize to other countries. 

Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union of Belize: “This is not the first time Belize is hosting this conference. We hosted this conference, I believe, back in 2006. And the good gentleman, Brother Dylan Reneau, past president and in that I believe he was the president at the time and that was a huge success and so the affiliates were excited to come back to Belize 14 years after because we did an excellent job in 2006. So far I’m pleased to say that the experience has been great for them and the importance of it of course for Belize is that this is the opportunity for us to have a wider or a larger, a bigger delegation that we would be able to take to such a conference, if it is, that it was being held outside of Belize. So for this conference we have 13 delegates who participated in the workshops and we have about 23 who will be present during the business session three, of course, will be official delegates and the remainder will be observers. But what this will do for them is that it will give them exposure, it will create an opportunity for them to network with men, women and young workers from across the region and it will also serve to build capacity in the Public Service Union of Belize and last but certainly not least this serves as a tourism booster for the country. So not only we are a public sector union that strives to build capacity in order to be able to be in a better position to negotiate for better terms and conditions of service for public offices but we also serve as a vehicle through which we promote Belize and build our tourism product.”

The conference ends on Friday.

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