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Jan 31, 2018

John Avery Wants to be a Millionaire, but Not at P.U.C.

John Avery

Avery took particular offense to the spreadsheet listing payments to past and present members of the Commission – a total of four and a half million dollars in nine years, of which he is said to have collected a total of one and a half million, covering salary, travel expenses, gratuity for meeting appearances. Except Avery says he gets far less – in fact, he and other members of the Commission feel underpaid for their combined duties of regulating water, electricity and telecommunications with fewer staff than their regional colleagues. Here is how he put it to News Five today.

 

John Avery, Chair, Public Utilities Commission

“In my case they were saying that the P.U.C. incurred two hundred and twenty-odd thousand since I was there; not saying that number is correct because we track our expenses year to year. Almost ten years, that is twenty-two, twenty-three thousand per year. Three, four trips to the Caribbean – is that any exorbitant or unwarranted type of traveling on behalf of the chairman? Some of the totals are inaccurate; totals involving me for example. I wish I mi mek one point nine million dollars from P.U.C. since I’ve been there (laughter). I wish so! You understand what I’m saying? Those things, they were inaccurate. Like I said, I have never been paid in any calendar year or one year a hundred and fifty thousand [dollars] by the P.U.C. In fact if you noticed the same report, it says the total compensation for the chairman during this audit period was about one hundred and fifty-eight thousand dollars. That was for meetings, my salary, gratuity and my contract, which of course I now understand I have to pay taxes on. Those are complete misrepresentations. And like I said those aren’t official figures of the P.U.C.; we don’t know how they were manipulated, and so they aren’t figures to rely on.”

 

Avery notes that as chairman he deputizes for the Minister for Public Utilities at many meetings of the International and Caribbean Telecommunications Union since Belize does not have a separate chief official for telecommunications.

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