PM Briceño speaks on wisdom behind salary increases for judges
As of Wednesday, members of the judiciary have seen increases in their base salaries. A picture of a memo from the Ministry of Finance our newsroom has seen shows that justices of the High Court will receive a salary package of 175 thousand dollars annually – and that amount is tax free! Like the issue of increasing the PM’s fuel allowance, the National Trade Union Congress has also criticised GOB for increasing judges’ salaries before giving public officers their increments. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, John Briceño was asked about it today.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “We have a problem with the judges and after a very long discussion back and forth over months of deliberation we have to realize that Belize is one of the countries that pays the least in judges and we’re losing judges. Justice Shoman and Justice Young have just left well I’m not sure if Justice Young has already left but we’re losing two judges and if we don’t offer them a package that would be attractive enough for them to come to Belize we’re not going to have judges and then when we don’t have judges you the public will be jumping and saying ‘well why is it that you don’t have judges ? And we reluctantly because we knew what the unions would be their reactions but we reluctantly ended up giving them a raise, we had no choice.”
Reporter: With Justice Shoman leaving I think she left like two weeks ago, will there be a replacement for her ?
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well we have to replace them. As it is we’re already short on justices and so again our Attorney General has been very good at reaching out to the Commonwealth Secretariat and through her efforts we’ve managed to get some judges to come but these are just short term like for one year and so it’s obvious now that we’ll need more judges and we have no other option but to be able to attract judges to come to Belize by increase their salaries.”
Reporter: Do we have a time frame as to when those judges would be coming in ?
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well we don’t know we just started the process of advertising. We’ve been advertising and nobody was responding so that’s something that the Attorney General is working on.”