Government CEOs Reverse Decision on Phone Allowance Increase
Chief Executive Officers within the Government service have announced through the Cabinet Secretary that they have agreed to have their phone increase rescinded. It was exactly two weeks ago today that the Financial Secretary issued an internal memo to the Cabinet Secretary informing him of the 140 percent increase in phone allowance. This move would have taken the allowance from two hundred and fifty dollars to six hundred dollars monthly. The decision for the rescinding of the allowance came via a press release today. President of the Public Service Union (PSU), Dean Flowers, told Love News that he is pleased at the announcement, but he does take issue with some wordings in the release, as well as with the unlawful manner in which the government chooses to compensate certain individuals within the public service.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “Where the CEO caucus through the Cabinet Secretary attempted to show themselves as the knights in shining armor giving up what in the first instance, in my view, was a shameful attempt by the Cabinet Secretary and the Financial Secretary to exploit the taxpaying dollars of the Belizean public in an unjustified and irrational telephone allowance. In any event what I find very disingenuous from the release which does bring some comfort to public officers and the Belizean public but what is disingenuous about it is the fact that the crafters of that release had the audacity to say that this would have been a reward for the hard work of the CEOs and it was in line with the increments and regular promotions that public officers on the other side of the aisle would get. So they wanted to say, well considering that CEOs don’t get regular promotions or increments this was one way of rewarding their hard work and performance. As I stated in my personal thoughts, these people continue to be disconnected. The Cabinet Secretary is far disconnected from the realities that are facing public officers. A little simple research by himself to the Financial Secretary or the undersecretary in the Ministry of Finance would have demonstrated the thousands of public officers that are currently being exploited by the Government of Belize and who have been exploited by the Government of Belize under the PUDP administrations.”
One of the issues that President Flowers brought up was the supposed exorbitant allowances that former CEOs were given under the previous administration. He says that instead of upholding the unlawful allowances that they found when they took office, this administration should have sought to recover the excess monies paid to former CEOs.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “I don’t think they rejected it. I think the Belizean public and more in particular public officers stood their ground, made their voices heard and gave them due process to rescind it. This is not no kind gesture of the CEO caucus. How can it be a kind gesture from the CEO caucus when most of them are now saying they didn’t even know about it. So this is one or two individuals believing that da fu we time and we could do what we want. These people need to understand that they’re providing public service, they’re in the public service and that’s not the way the public service works. And I think it also speaks to the lack of fiduciary duty on the part of the Financial Secretary who this very administration dragged into court along with the former prime minister for spending money which they had absolutely no authority to spend. Renee, if you look at what the compendium of allowances for the Belize Public Service says it says that it is the official document, official document, which incorporates all approved allowances for the Belize public service including those allowances of the Judicial and Legal Services and the security services. It goes on to state that this document, this authorized document which is approved by the Ministry of Public Service based on the recommendation of the Joint Staff Relations Council is the sole source of reference for approval of allowances. What that says is that the former CEO in the former prime minister’s office was overpaid and perhaps might not be, and I’m no lawyer but based on the compendium she was overpaid by unlawful instructions.”