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Jan 8, 2021

Perusing the Director of Tourism’s Plum Contract

On the heels of a stunning defeat at the polls on November eleventh last year, it was expected that all U.D.P. appointed chairpersons on various statutory bodies, including the executives of the Belize Tourism Board, would step down as the respectable course of action.  Director of Tourism Karen Bevans, who signed a five-year contract to remain in that position until 2024, insists on staying put, despite coming under fire from the new administration.  Her contract, signed at the beginning of the 2019 financial calendar, is for one hundred and seventy-three thousand dollars annually. Here’s News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a breakdown of the agreement.



Karen Bevans

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Director of Tourism Karen Bevans renewed her employment contract with the Government of Belize at the start of the fiscal year 2019, for a five year period that commenced on April eighth of that same year.  It is a rather straightforward agreement which lays out quite clearly the terms of reference under which she functions as head of the Belize Tourism Board.  In her capacity, Bevans raked in an annual salary of one hundred and seventy-three thousand, two hundred and fifty dollars which, over the life of the contract, amounts to almost eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars.  This is separate from a salary increase based on her performance which ranges between five and ten percent per annum.  It is also apart from the twenty-five percent yearly bonus she receives at the end of each fiscal year and her annual Christmas bonus.  But what is most glaring about the terms of that agreement are the monthly allowances that Bevans enjoys.  While her registered home address is on Queen Helmet Avenue, Coral Grove, Belize City, Bevans also receives a housing allowance of two thousand dollars at the end of each month.  She also receives a thousand dollar perk for monthly communications expenses, that is for telephone calls and internet usage.  Bevans’ pension and insurance benefits are equally interesting.  As director, she is part of B.T.B.’s Executive Management Team, in a pension scheme called B.T.B. Top Hat.  She is eligible to participate in the B.T.B. Health and Life Insurance Group Plan; however, if she chooses not to, the B.T.B. will cover her individual policy at its expense.  In her role, Bevans is also assigned a vehicle for exclusive use and the organization foots all other related expenses, including fuel and maintenance.

Since the People’s United Party took office following the November 2020 elections, there have been several concerns about Bevans’ contract.  But getting rid of the present Director of Tourism is not as easy as giving her the walking papers.  To do so without cause prior to the expiration of the contract will leave government on the hook for sums equal to all salaries and all other remuneration.  She is also entitled to all other benefits that would have been due to her for the full remaining term of the contract.  And while notice is usually given six months prior to the end of the contract, it can be automatically renewed on the same terms set out in the existing agreement in the absence of notice from either party.

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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