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Dec 7, 2017

How Many Will Really Benefit from Trust’s Planned Projects?

Nadia Caliz

The Trust comes out of the infamous period between 1995 and 1997 when public officers’ wages and increments were frozen due to budgetary issues for the Manuel Esquivel administration, which also let go over eight hundred officers. Salary adjustments were re-instated in 1997 along with increments and the Government signed over nearly eight hundred thousand shares in what is now Belize Telemedia Limited. The loan scheme offers loans to all qualified public officers at ten percent interest and minimal fees, a bargain on the local banking market. But who exactly is to benefit from the Trust? It is a question that not even the trustees say they can answer; only the Government can. That answer is also important for the scope of the projects that the Trust intends to implement.

 

Nadia Caliz, Trustee, Public Sector Workers’ Trust

“That is a very, very good question, because as we sit here as a Union and as a Trust, we can’t give you the numbers. We went to G.O.B., the employer, and they couldn’t give it to us either. We’re not the employer.”

 

Reporter

“Isn’t it the Trust’s responsibility to determine who are the beneficiaries?”

 

Nadia Caliz

“The court already said people working between ’95 to ’97 whose increments were frozen.”

 

Reporter

“Are you all not interested at all…”

 

Nadia Caliz

“We are but we have to go to the employer which is G.O.B. We have to go to the employer…”

 

Reporter

“But you can to go to Social Security and find that out lickety-split.”

 

Nadia Caliz

“We have to go to the employer, and so the employer would then have to provide us with that listing.”

 

Reporter

“So is there a possibility then that some of the people who are in the lawsuit are not beneficiaries? If Government has not confirmed to you the list of all those people who were working during that time, there is a possibility that some of these people are not beneficiaries?”

 

Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney, Public Sector Workers’ Trust

“In response to that, the first thing to appreciate again – the Trust was not created until 2013, from 1995, 1996, so that the current Trustees did not get involved until 2013. So that a lot of work has to be done and is being done to actually find out what took place before and you can’t …imagine, things weren’t able to be done in fifteen, almost twenty years; therefore you can’t necessarily expect the trustees to have everything being done.”

 

According to trustee Doctor Philip Castillo, ideas for projects include a program for financial independence for retired public officers and contributing to health and wellness, including perhaps contributing a dialysis machine to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

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