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Dec 17, 2014

Belize Mayors Association Ratify a Municipal Service Regulation Policy

In Belize City today, the Belize Mayors’ Association signed on to a municipal service regulation policy, which is also described as historic. It seeks primarily to change human resources practices in local government so that political interference will become a thing of the past. The policy applies to all nine municipalities which have undertaken to standardize policies that relate to employment. News Five’s Duane Moody has the following report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Belize Elementary Auditorium, the Mayors of the various municipalities gathered for the signing of a Municipal Service Regulation Policy.  The historic occasion is the first step towards getting a standardized employment regime amongst all nine municipalities. After the document was signed, it would be handed over to Minister of Local Government, Godwin Hulse, who will present it to the House of Representatives to be legislated. The goal is to create consistency within the human resources practices of all nine municipalities.

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Local Government

“There are three different pieces of legislation governing local governments—there is one for Belize City, there is one for Belmopan and then there is one for the towns. While those are the principal acts, the legislations that will give effect to the rights of employees, certainty of tenure, disciplinary action that can be taken, etc. was non-existent. And so our ministry, together with the municipalities, has been working towards bringing this piece of legislation into force.”

 

The Municipal Service Regulation Policy is the Brainchild of the Belize Mayors Association. Eight months ago, a Workers Regulation Taskforce was created to put together the documents that were distributed to the councils today, it is hoped that the regulations will be put into practice forthwith.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Chair, Workers Regulation Taskforce

“What we wanted to do was create a set of objective policies and practices that bring uniformity to all municipal employment services in all of the municipalities. From the time that a person is engaged to the time that they leave, there is one set of regulations that governs their terms and conditions of employment and some of the principal parts of the regulation deal with de-politicizing hiring so that we delegate the power to hire to the City Administrator or to the town Administrator in the various municipalities. We put in place a hiring policy and practice which has to deal with interviewing people, ensuring that the application has certain things in there, ensuring that there is an interviewing panel and that there is no political involvement in that process. The significant other thing that we dealt with is the right of union representation to say that at all aspects of engagement; an employee has the right to participate actively in the union and to have the union engage on behalf of them.”

 

According to Orange Walk Mayor, Kevin Bernard, the policy will allay all the fears of employees when it comes to security of jobs.

 

Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, Member, Workers Regulation Taskforce

“These regulations will standardize and revolutionize the environment for workers across the municipal spectrum. The aim was to create a more professional, efficient and effective municipal employment structure to benefit municipal workers. These regulations I think do that and more. The aim was to provide employees in all nine municipalities with security of tenure and standardized policies, practices and guidelines.”

 

Also in attendance were employees of the nine councils to witness the event. One employee also addressed the gathering today on his take on the Benefits of the Workers Policy

 

Troy Smith

Troy Smith, Evaluation Manager, Belize City Council

“Fairness…which brings a balance between the employer and the employee. Don’t want to go into details cause I would be here all morning. Two, institutional strengthening of this regulation where every single person will know the do’s and the don’ts of this organization and their rights and wrongs. Three, security…very important. I heard this years ago from our mayor about job security and today I can actually be a part of the realization that this regulation, once we comply to all the policy within it, it will secure our jobs. But most and last, vision.”

 

The ceremony concluded with the signing of the Municipal service Regulation Policy by all mayors and Minister Hulse. Duane Moody for News Five.

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