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PM Briceno Says CEO’s Salaries were Already Cut

An internal memorandum is in circulation that has raised eyebrows among the public officers and the Public Service Union (PSU). The memo is from the Cabinet Secretary notifying the government CEOs that their salaries and allowances would remain as they were in May 2020 and that no cuts would apply to their packages. President of the PSU, Dean Flowers has expressed outrage and said that the members are ready to take to the streets if it comes to that. He said he met with the union membership last night.

Dean Flowers, President, PSU: “Now there is a false narrative that is being spread out there and it started circulating since last night where I understand, no name was called but I understand that a CEO was saying that they had already received the 10% cut in their salaries in May of 2020 which is not the farthest thing from the truth but is a blatant lie and so I want to dispel of that forthwith. I have here circular number five dated April 29th and with reference to CEOs these were the measures taken under the Barrow Administration. For CEOs for the period May 20 to April 21 they were to see a reduction in their housing and entertainment allowance from $1,500 a month to $750. That was the only cut. So that was one of the cuts that was levied on CEOs, a reduction in their entertainment allowance and also there was a reduction in their gratuity from 20% to 15% for the period 1st May 2020 to 30th April 2021. So absolutely no adjustment was made on the salaries of CEOs so I want to dispel that blatant lie that someone published on Facebook last night that in fact that’s the reason why they are not included in this 10% salary cut , because they were cut last year. Nobody’s salary was affected last year other than the Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow who gave up the remainder of his salaries from then until he demitted office as I understand it. I’m not an FO, I’m not in the Ministry of Finance so I cannot ascertain if that in fact was the case and we know also that ministers had given up one month salary. Those were the only adjustments to salaries, no CEO under the Barrow administration’s salary was cut.”

We had an opportunity to ask the Prime Minister about the letter sent by Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie to all Chief Executive Officers. PM John Briceno told Love News that the CEO has already had their allowances cut in 2020. Here is how he explained it.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “That’s the problem when people speak when they don’t know the facts or all the facts and the facts are that there were pay raises in 2012, 2015 and 2017. The CEOs did not get a raise in 2017. In 2020 the Prime Minister did not touch their salary but did touch their allowances so that when these -well every government has to bring in, you have to give a new contract to the CEOs it was agreed that these CEOs will not get the higher salary that they used to get before they took the same salary from 2015 and did not reflect the raise in 2017. And also because they’ve already been cut, their allowances have already been cut then it was not fair then to cut it again and that is why Stuart Leslie sent out that letter to the finance officers so that they could understand when they’re making out the salary. There is no animal farm kind of thing right here, there’s nobody that’s being dealt with getting any kind of special arrangement it is simply fairness. We’ve been trying to be as fair as we possibly can, we’re trying to be fair to a fault and so it’s unfortunate that then people would want to use this just for political mischief or for some reporters just to make a story. I think that as a journalist I think you have a responsibility to sit down and to say ‘Okay this is what we have give us the facts.’ as opposed to let it go and then put your own editorial on that letter. Get the facts and we are trying to be as open, as transparently as we possibly can and so it’s much ado about nothing. It’s simply that CEOs did not get raise in 2017 so we gave them that very same salary from 2015 and that their allowances were already cut in 2020.”