The Wage Bill continues to be a major cause for concern. Government has engaged in budget consultations with the private sector and the unions. Amid those meetings the Public Service Union noted that the Wage Bill had increased in September 2020 by five million dollars, while it went even further up in November under the Briceno administration. Minister Francis Fonseca is a member of the government’s budget consultation process who explained the figures on the wage bill.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “We did discuss that issue of emoluments rising. I think during the same period where we’ve been talking about supposedly having- and the past government talking about a wage freeze should have been in place in fact emoluments went up; our figures show it went up about $3 million. Any talk since November I don’t think any proper analysis has been done of that because it doesn’t factor into account contracts officers that have been terminated so we believe there is a net – obviously we had to take on some new people for particular positions in the government but that has been very very limited and we in terms of what I have heard from the Ministry of Finance there has been no net in crease in terms of the wage bill since November. But it is an issue we’re looking at and the Cabinet and the Prime Minister has made it very clear that there is to be no new hiring during this period.”
Minister Fonseca also spoke to Love News on the the statement made last week by Prime Minister John Briceno regarding limited talent. As the Minister of Education, he says concurred that the statement was taken out of context as Belize is a country with many talents.
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “First of all I think the Prime Minister has conceded publicly he misspoke and he apologized for misspeaking and anybody who knows Prime Minister John Briceno he’s been in public office for more than thirty years, knows that one of his greatest strengths is his love and respect for the Belizean people so I think that should be put to rest. In terms of talent of course we have people with many many great and diverse talents in our country. We talked about earlier today on the Morning Show I talked about people in ITVETs, the skills training. We have very talented, skilled craftsmen. We have people who are talented mechanics and talented engineers, we have very talented people in the area of culture and arts and music so Belize is a country full of talent. You know during this one of the things I observed during this consultation process with the unions was the depth of talent in the public service, in all of these unions we had very bright, intelligent people who are committed to serving Belize with many many good ideas and recommendations for how we can address the very serious challenges facing Belize. So as the Minister of Education I see it every day. I see it in our teachers, I see it in our students, I see it across the country. We have very very talented people and what we need to do a better job of us harnessing that talent, bringing that talent together so that we can move this country forward.”