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May 11, 2020

P.S.U. Says the PM Not Seeing the Picture Clearly

A joint meeting between Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the Public Service Union and the Belize National Teachers’ Union is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.  The meeting will revolve around G.O.B.’s cost-saving measures proposed to these unions and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, which according to the Prime Minister, is in support of the cost-saving measures.  The P.S.U., which represents thousands of public servants across the country, is standing firm against the government’s proposal. As part of the government’s strategy to meet its ninety-million-dollar monthly bill, waiving increments for public officers is G.O.B.’s preferred choice.  But the P.S.U. is not in agreement with a waiver. First Vice President Dean Flowers says that the union is willing to defer payment. PM Barrow is holding stern to the government’s position and so is the P.S.U. to theirs. In his virtual press conference on Friday, PM Barrow told the Public Service Union not to continue to be unreasonable. Flowers rejected the PM’s statement, asserting that it is the Prime Minister who is not seeing the clear picture. 


Dean Flowers

Dean Flowers, First Vice President, P.S.U.

“Pretty much it is simply to say that I am in receipt of your letter and I would like to have a sit down with you on Wednesday. That is where we are. We will be having a joint union meeting the Prime Minister on Wednesday.”


Hipolito Novelo

“What do you make of the Financial Secretary’s last letter   in which he said that if the P.S.U. continues to reject the proposal that the Minister will amend the regulations to amend salaries and on again on Friday the Prime Minister said to the P.S.U., to you all, stop being unreasonable?”


Dean Flowers

“I don’t know if we are being unreasonable. I think that we are being reasonable and responsible and so I personally and I pretty quite sure the P.S.U. because I speak for and on behalf of the P.S.U. we don’t agree that we are being unreasonable. In regards to the Prime Minister’s threat to go to the Governor General we take it for what it is, a threat and we will, as I stated being, be meeting with the Prime Minister and we hope that he would not take such a rash and autocratic approach because it will not sit well with public officers and with the general public on a whole. COVID-19 has also highlighted vividly that this country is on the brinks of collapse. We are experiencing serious economic times now, not solely as a result of COVID.  COVID is simply highlighting the financial mess and the poor management of government revenues and assets that has been going on for years. The P.S.U. has taken the stance that we will be making a sacrifice. We are prepared to make whatever sacrifice we need to make to assist with the recovery efforts but along with that government must exercise discipline and we are hoping that we will be able to reach an agreement with the government in implementing a group, a working committee to ensure that these things come to fruition.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Based on what you have explained, do you believe that the Prime Minister himself is being unreasonable or not being fair, not seeing the picture clearly?/;


Dean Flowers

“I think it is the later part of that question, that he is not seeing the entire picture. I believe that any individual who would take to the microphone that you must do your homework, you must ascertain that what your advisors are telling you is the truth and is not only the truth but accurate. And so the fact that the Prime Minister presented certain figures to the general public which are not the truth. The truth is that public officers both senior and junior officers would be giving up much more than ministers, C.E.O.s and H.O.D.s. And so the fact that the Prime Minister did not ascertain those numbers and did not get the proper advice from the Ministry of Finance I think that the onus is on him and the Ministry of Finance to correct those misstatements that were made on Friday.”

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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