Right Honorable Dean Barrow made his eighth speech yesterday as the country’s Prime Minister since he became duly elected in 2008. The official ceremony was held at Independence Hill in the country’s capital city, Belmopan, Cayo District and as tradition would have it, since 2008, Prime Minister Barrow has become known for using this platform to make major announcements ranging from massive infrastructural projects to financial ease to the Belizean people. In this year’s announcement involving the health sector, Prime Minister explained that while the workers at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital do not fall under the public sector, the Government does subsidize the facility and with weeks of negotiations, the Government of Belize has agreed to find the funds to facilitate a salary increase for the workers.
“When the KHMH Authority came into being, they are not Government employees. So strictly speaking their conditions of service, including salary, have nothing to do with GOB. But you couldn’t tell them that. They know that government still subsidizes the KHMH, and in fact to the tune of 36.4 million dollars annually. It is out of this subsidy that their salaries come, they see that GOB has been able to find more to pay its public officers, and they want equal treatment, the same access to Government’s bounty. While the situation is not quite as straightforward as they make out, we have heard their cry. And the position is that GOB will find the funds to provide them with the salary increase that, after negotiations, was agreed with the KHMH Board and the Cabinet sub-committee.”
Prime Minister Barrow, with the announcement of the raise of wages for the KHMH workers, he did add that the increase in salaries comes with the condition that workers would engage in the management’s efforts of self-sustainability.
“We demanded something in return, though. We expect that the staff and administration at the KHMH will begin to demonstrate immediately their ability to engage in efficient cost recovery and the cutting of waste; and that they will start to move now towards the financial self-sustainability that autonomy for the KHMH was supposed to mean.”