The issue involving Dr Manzanero is only the tip of the iceberg. Tonight, both the APSSM and the Public Service Union are looking into the political appointments being made to positions that for many years had fallen under Section 106 of the Constitution of Belize. Those seats under 106 fall under the purview of the Public Service Commission while those under Section 107 are under the purview of the Governor General who is advised by the Prime Minister. These include primarily, the political appointments. According to APSSM’s President Sharon Frazer, while they cannot stop the government from shifting certain positions from Section 106 to 107, they could highlight how the move will affect the public workers and senior managers. One recent example of this is the appointment of the Comptroller of Customs which has since been taken to court.
Sharon Frazer, President, Association of Public Service Senior Managers: “We have been discussing this matter and in fact at some point in time we were even discussing joining as an interested party in that application that is before the court at this time. The jury is still out on that on what we’re going to do in relation to that because the substantive matter has not been heard as yet so it’s not too late to make a decision in relation to that. But that is also a concern to us because it started with the CEOs where the PSs were converted to for want of a better word political appointees. It means that persons likewise who would have for years sat down, worked hard to eventually move to the top of a ministry that has been effectively taken away from them. People look forward to attrition, to moving up. If it is that you’re going to say that all the HOD’s positions like they did with the permanent secretary which ultimately were made CEOs turn them into political appointees it then means it takes away that drive that public officers have to eventually reach heads of department. Technical officers it’s not that you can just – you have to work for it, you have to work your way up. When I came into the service that is what I was told you have to work yourself up to where it is that you want to be so things are already not right with COVID, with the fact that we’re being threatened in order to meet the deficit , of a possible salary cut and then you’re also taking away that hope that persons would have to ultimately reach that position that they would have worked for years to get there.
We will have more on political appointments in tomorrow’s newscast.