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May 8, 2015

B.N.T.U. Clarifies – Petrocaribe Was Not Used for Salary Adjustments

Luke Palacio

The ongoing Petrocaribe rollout is proving to be the most controversial undertaking of the Barrow administration.  Depending on who you ask, the program is a redeeming feature which has seen wide scale infrastructure development.  Others, including the Opposition, will also tell you that the initiative has since become the bane of the U.D.P. government.  On April twenty-ninth, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, during his last press conference, lauded the initiative and proceeded to list a series of beneficiaries, among them teachers and public servants.  According to the P.M., salary increases were negotiated to include Petrocaribe funds.  In a recent interview with the media, B.N.T.U. President Luke Palacio set out to make a few clarifications based on the P.M.’s preemptive comments.


Luke Palacio, President, B.N.T.U.

“The Prime Minister has once again tried to mislead this nation. When the matter of the salary adjustment was discussed, negotiated and agreed upon, a formula was given. We were criticized for accepting that formula. And the formula speaks to the revenue that government gets one year over the revenue it gets the other year. Nothing in that formula that was proposed, speaks of any PetroCaribe. Nothing says ‘this revenue will be generated because PetroCaribe will help us to save some money’. That is not what it is. So definitely we can categorically say to the Prime Minister that, that is definitely not true. The formula is based on the revenue that government collects from its sources. Particularly taxes, that then we will share fifty/fifty of the outcome of that. Fifty percent goes to the union, whatever that comes up to then that will determine the salary adjustment that we are to get. So please we want the Belizean people to understand that B.N.T.U. nor the Public Service Union and the Association of the Public Service Senior Managers were ever told that this has to do or is linked to PetroCaribe. So we want to clear that up, thank you for the question. The other point we want to clear up. Because, when I listen to the repeat on the news of the Prime Minister’s press conference, he also said that we negotiated – that the unions negotiated to be on the board of the National Bank. And again that is untrue. That was an offer the Prime Minister made to the unions. The three unions that were negotiating, he said ‘I’m going to start the National Bank. And on that bank I am prepared to give you the unions ten million for your members to use, to access.’ And we were like ‘well what do we do?’ and he said ‘if you don’t want it then we give it to somebody else.’ So we said ‘okay we will take up that offer,’ but again it was not something that was negotiated. So I thought we needed to clear that up as well.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “B.N.T.U. Clarifies – Petrocaribe Was Not Used for Salary Adjustments”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    The genesis of this entire Petro Caribe financial debacle is caused by Barrow attempting to hide and justify his theft of millions of dollars for his personal use. Even the most tyrannical government in the world submits to accountability as this is the key to any form of managing resources. Any Belizeans who support this pernicious illegal, convoluted law demonstrate ignorance and stupidity beyond rational thought. Barrow must be accountable and be brought to court to answer for his dereliction of official duties and failure to uphold the laws of Belize and the Constitution.

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