BDF Soldiers up in arms over pay cut
Several Belize Defence Force Soldiers are up in arms over what they say is an unjust pay cut. Love News understands that under the previous administration, there was an effort to increase the soldiers’ salaries to bring them up to par with the wages of all three arms of the national security apparatus. However, the current administration has told the force there was a miscalculation in the increase. The issue has resulted in the Ministry of Finance moving to adjust the salary of soldiers to their initial pay. The concerns are being raised by numerous soldiers, and according to the Leader of the Opposition, Moses Barrow, they are also having issues with collecting their pensions.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “They’re still complaining that they’re not getting their pensions then there is some calculation that is a debate now that the government is saying that the calculations that the BDF soldiers who are retired are calculating is not proper or accurate. Again the Briceno Administration touted itself as the government that was going to be there for the most vulnerable amongst us and the bedrock of our society not just the most vulnerable but bedrock of our society are our security forces, again our teachers, our nurses, our doctors so why treat the BDF like this? Solve it. Once we form government, once the UDP forms government, these are things that we will fix and again the difference is a matter of credibility but as leader of the UDP, Leader of the Opposition, I’ve done whatever I said I would do I have mad every difficult decisions that cost me internal political capital and risk even my leadership but I have proven that I will make decisive and swift policy decisions when faced and the Briceno administration has had three years to fix this situation with the retired BDF.”
Former Minister of National Security and UDP Chairman Michael Peyrefitte also weighed in on the situation and shared his sentiments on the issue, which he says is unfair to soldiers.
Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, UDP: “The pay master for the BDF said very clearly that the pays were correct and that it was an increase in the salary that we approved in 2019 because the attempt was to begin a process where you have the Belize Defense Force, the Police Department and the Coast Guard be on parr since they’re all members of the security services. So we did approve that then the Ministry of Finance in this government came out and said that was a miscalculation we made a mistake. Well it was not a matter of mistake we approved that. So why is it that you want to take away money from them and what could possibly be the increase ? You look at these delegations that travel to Dubai and basically having Cabinet meeting in Miami and you’re telling me that with all the money that is being spent on certain things you cannot just leave the defense soldiers with the increase that they got even if you made a mistake just leave the, haven’t they earned it ? They’re one of the least paid people in the security services. They patrol the border, they’re in the jungle all day and all night I mean even if you did over pay them, even if you came to that conclusion what is the harm in just leaving that and moving on and making sure at least that they’re on par ? You don’t decrease other people’s pay because what I’m hearing now that they’re gonna decrease their pay not just walk it back but decrease their pay to make up for the excess the they supposedly got. Why would they need to do that ? Just eave it alone.”
Our newsroom will continue to follow the developing story.