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Jan 17, 2014

Belize Chamber of Commerce comes out in support of B.N.T.U.

Alberto Young Jr.

While a throng of teachers from the Belize District converged on Battlefield Park this morning to make known their demand for a salary adjustment, its social partner, the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry, was busy tying the loose ends of a press release issued in support of the Belize National Teachers Union.  Although the chamber is cognizant of government’s financial position, it believes that the fine-tuning of wages can be done systematically over a number of years.  Notwithstanding its support of the union, the chamber also maintains that any increase in public sector wages should be done on the basis of an evaluation of individual performance.  News Five spoke with Alberto Young, Vice President of Commerce and member of the chamber’s executive council.

 

Alberto Young Jr., Vice President of Commerce, BCCI

“The chamber is in support of a wage increase but done more in a responsible and sustainable manner, you know.  We’ve always advocated and previously, in other releases, advocated for a better oversight and governance of our finances, you know.  And with that said those are the areas, or that’s one of the areas that we believe over the years that will allow a wage increase to be sustainable but it has to be done in a sustainable manner.  But we do advocate and we do support a wage increase for teachers, education being, and I’m sure the government’s strategy is aligned with this, is that education being very important to our future, we have to invest in the people who teach and provide the knowledge to our children.  With that said, we continue to advocate for a better oversight of our finances, cutting out of our waste, corruption so that we can sustainably invest in people over the next few years, you know.  We also, in our release, again reiterated a call for the thirteenth senator which was promised and I believe that being in line with of course better governance and oversight, as well a more autonomous PAC which we’ve been advocating for.  And that’s really our position, but it has to be done objectively and based on performance as well.  It’s just not giving increases but we have to be able to extract value for sustainable education and for our future and that’s really our position as stated in our release today.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the executive council having this discussion and coming up as a matter of consensus that it will lend its support for the teachers union and the public officers.  Have you guys looked at some ways in which the government may be able to realize the salary adjustment or the subsequent increases in that sustainable manner you speak of?”

 

Alberto Young Jr.

“Well again, it’s financial oversight.  We, of course, don’t have an abundance of funding and so we have to manage with what we have and that is why I reiterate the fact that as is in our release that we make much better use of our finances.  We cut out waste, we cut out corruption a sustainable manner.”

 

The Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry also continues to call for the appointment of a thirteenth senator, as well as a more autonomous Public Accounts Committee.

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