The PSU says that the Briceno Administration, over the past month, has embarked on a misinformation and smear campaign against the Joints Unions. In its release, the PSU stressed that what is more appalling is that (quote) “at the expense of the People of Belize, the Government is utilizing recently hired political minions in the Ministry of Public Service and the Government Press Office to narrate and produce these hateful and divisive ads with the use of Government assets and resources” (unquote). PSU First Vice President Dean Flowers also examined this issue with our newsroom earlier today.
Dean Flowers, First Vice President, Public Service Union: “I’m speaking about the narrating. They’re being produced by the Press Office there’s no secret to that so yes we are surprised that in an environment and in a spirit of industrial relations and in an atmosphere where good industrial relations should be promoted yes we are surprised that the government would stoop this low. We agreed that union or the Public Service Union and the government has had their impasses in the past, they have not agreed on everything but this is the lowest that we’ve seen a government go.”
Dispelling the PSU’s claim is the Director of the Government Press Office, Michael Rudon. Rudon says that the unions so called facts are baseless and intertwined with fantasy to distract the public from the real issues affecting the entire country and not just teachers and public officers.
Michael Rudon, Director of Governemnt Press Office: “I contacted Mr Henry on a sort of official unofficial basis and we had cordial conversation. I pointed out to him the same thing I’m going to point out to you now; It is easy to say this stuff to incite people, that’s easy. Like I told Mr Henry listen you all say government is conducting a fire sale of assets and everybody gets excited. Where is the list of assets ? Nobody has been able to produce a list of assets, we know that the sale of any government assets has to go through a process, has to go through the Ministry of Finance, they wouldn’t have access to that list. There is no such list. It is easy to say that the government is buying a fancy fleet of vehicles and everybody gets excited and that becomes the rhetoric on social media, where is the list of vehicles that have been bought? It is similarly easy to say the press office is producing and paying for political ads. Show us the proof. I explained to Mr Henry that the press office is staffed by public officers who have been here for years. So for the PSU to make such an allegation firstly, is not an insult to me it’s an insult to those public officers. And it’s just patently false. It’s fast, there is no proof they have no proof. If the press office we’re making we’re making any such payments in media houses would know the media houses would clearly check their records and see who paid for what ads. So it’s just a false allegation. T hose payments are done by public officers. I explained to Mr Henry, and he knows this, in government there is not a safe full of cash, any payment has to be made you don’t have cash payments are made through systems. I am responsible for all payments made out of the press office. When I sign off on that it goes to a public officer, an accounting officer and then it goes through a chain of accounting officers and that is how it’s done, there would be a paper trail. Mr. Mr Henry has no such paper trail and I’m telling you he will never have such a paper trail. There is no proof of any of what they’re saying and it is irresponsible.”