The CEO salary package is not the only concern that the PSU has voiced. Recently, the union sent a letter to the Governor-General, Her Excellency Froyla Tzalam appealing to her to reject the new salary package offered to her. President Dean Flowers spoke on the letter sent and the next step the union has planned in addressing this concern.
Dean Flowers, President, PSU: “To date we have not received any response from the Governor General. Our intent of course when we wrote to her was to remind Her Excellency that she is the head of state and she must lead by example. Our intention was also to point out that to whom much is given much is expected and hence the reason why as we’re having this interview the situation with the CEO being exempted from the 10% salary cut is an utter disrespect to the laborers of this country. We expect that the GG will do the right thing and stand in solidarity with the workers of the public service and we expect that she will defer her increase in salary for the next three years in solidarity. Of course it is her choice but it will speak also of her legacy and her decision to abandon the recovery efforts of this country will form part of her legacy and will be etched forever in the history book so we expect that she will do the right thing. As the unions have been saying from when we were in the middle of consultations that its not irony it’s hypocrisy because were showing where the government was saying that they were replacing workers when in fact they were hiring new public officers and advisors and administrative aids, and creating new positions which add no real value or add no economic benefit to this country. And so it’s not irony that they have now also gone the route of the GG it’s hypocritical. I keep saying this was never about a recovery plan for Belize this was all about restructuring a debt to create fiscal space for the administration to continue eating high on the hog.”
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John Briceno says he makes no apology for increasing the salary of the Governor-General. Briceno says that the GG’s salary hasn’t been increased since the early 1990’s and it’s about time it’s done. The Prime Minister says that he is not surprise that PSU President Dean Flowers has decided to speak against it.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Nothing surprise me of that President of the PSU. Everybody knows he’s a UDP supporter. He was brought in there by no other than Gaspar Vega and we know what took place with him in the Ministry of Lands it is his job to attack whatever the government does so I’m not surprised for him to take that position. We had to implement these changes or the increase in salary of the GG because the GG’s salary has not been raised since 1993 when the UDP kicked out Dame Minta Gordon, threw her out on the street and then Sir Colville came in. And since 1993 the Governor General had the same salary, they had no health insurance. Now it would have been easy for us tit for tat and do the same thing to Sir Colville Young but we are different than the UDP. Sir Colville Young despite the fact that he was an NIP and a UDP was a good Governor General. He served this country selflessly. He wasn’t thinking about himself. I think maybe you all should go and take a walk and take a look at the residence where he was living I think he showed of how the bathrooms used to look, how the bathrooms used to look I mean it’s a bloody shame. Us as Belizeans should be ashamed about what happened. Now we said that now that he has retired and he’s a bit sick, his wife is even more sick, and so we felt that the only way we could help him is to be able to raise the salary and then do it retroactively so that then he can benefit from a decent pension. That’s all we’re trying to accomplish and it is unfortunate that we had to do it but I have no apologies to make on that because it was deserved and this post is the highest post in the land, they represent this entire country.”
Recently, the Governor General’s salary has gone from forty three thousand dollars annually to seventy five thousand dollars. Her monthly allowances have gone from two thousand dollars to twelve thousand dollars.