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Union Members Get a Sweet Deal

The candy for the unions do not end there. The public officers and teachers are also looking to benefit from a national insurance and discounted internet packages and loan moratoriums at the banks.

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “By no later than fiscal year 2023/2024, Government will establish a contributory health insurance scheme for public officers that covers medical, dental and vision care along with an ancillary death benefit. Government will contribute 80% of the insurance premiums while participating public officers will contribute 20%. Government, through the Ministry of Education, has reached agreement with BTL for BTL to provide a fifty percent (50%) discounted 25GB data package to teachers. The Central Bank of Belize has issued guidance to the banks and credit unions to extend the forbearance period on residential mortgages including those held by affected public officers and teachers to the end of this year. Continued efforts will be made to urge leniency by banks and credit unions on residential mortgages including waiver of penalty fees whether on refinancing, transfer of loans or otherwise. Cabinet has approved and a draft bill is being prepared to be tabled to the National Assembly for enactment of the waiver of stamp duties on the assignment of residential mortgages held by public officers and teachers.”

And while the public officers and teachers will be compensated for the ten percent salary cut, the government ministers will be getting cuts not only in salaries but also on allowances.

John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Government will ensure that the Development Finance Corporation and the National Bank of Belize makes available special facilities of in or about $3mn to $5mn per institution for public officers and teachers for residential mortgages at preferred rates. Ministers, Ministers of State and area representatives will be subject to an increased total salary reduction of 15%.  Ministers, Ministers of State and CEOs will also surrender 50% of entertainment and telephone allowances. It is understood that heads of department will continue to surrender their allowances as already agreed in fiscal year 2020/2021. Pension benefits of directly affected public officers and teachers shall be computed on the basis of emoluments that would have been applicable if the increment freeze had not been implemented. Other Government Initiatives include Recovery of Outstanding Tax Arrears. Noting substantial arrears of business tax, general sales tax, income tax and land tax, the Government will establish an integrated Tax Recovery Unit under the Belize Tax Services Department that will be tasked with aggressive recovery of all lawfully due outstanding tax arrears.”

The union leaders are scheduled to meet with the government representatives tomorrow. We will tell you what the unions have to say about the government’s final offer.