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Aug 24, 2012

200 Southside Rejuvenation Workers fired!

Minister Mark King stood alone before the press this morning. He did not want to use the word firing but the government sent home two hundred men employed with the South Side Rejuvenation project. That’s only the tip of what is to come because hundreds more in other projects will soon be sent home. The umbrella program which started in 2009 encompasses four projects that target the south side of Belize City, which includes the Rejuvenation project, Poverty alleviation, CYDP and the Gang Truce, all of which per annum basis amount to over seven million dollars. King said that the projects, like the Southside Rejuvenation, was to only last a year but the Government kept it afloat for two more years, but they can no longer sustain it. News Five’s Andrea Polanco has this report.


Mark King, Minister of State with Responsibility for Gangs

“Umm…I think it’s very urgent that I make this briefing this morning simply because uh, some urgent matters have arise in regards to the programs such as the Southside Rejuvenation Program, the Gang Truce and CYDP Programs.”


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Mark King

The urgent matter is that two hundred employees under the Southside Rejuvenation Program are out of jobs as of today.


Mark King

“Effective August tenth, 2012, the two point two-nine million dollars allocated to these programs has been exhausted and the wages for the week of August thirteenth was paid through supplemental funds. Therefore, effective today, Friday, August twenty-fourth, we will be scaling back with two hundred members from the Southside Rejuvenation Project. These persons will be paid full salaries and severance which should last them through to October, where we will then exhaust our energies to find them projects for them to have more robust employment. These programs will continue to scale back with the remaining members until another program can be reasonably afforded or funded.”


The reason, King says, is that there is no money.


Mark King

“As the Minister tasked with this grand responsibility, it pinches my heart to know that the project must come to an end, as all other things; however, reality steps in, we simply don’t have the money.”


Jules Vasquez, 7News

“Your government has established itself as a welfare government…?”


Mark King

“Of course, this is why we have said that we will seek to exhaust our energies with the contractors that these people can be rehired that in some other fashion; I don’t know Jules, maybe you can find the quarter million dollars a week and then we could talk from deh but the supplementary budget is exhausted and there is absolutely no other budget for it. We are at a stop point; we’re at a check point, my brother.”


And although these two hundred workers will no longer have jobs, King says it is not a termination of services.


Mark King

“The reason I use the term downscaling and not terminated or fired, is simply for the fact that we are already in discussions with private contractors and business partners that seem to will be able to take on these two hundred persons by October. The monies that we will give to them should hold them up by that time until the time we are hoping to find an outlet for them to at least have a job. So I really don’t want to say that they would be unemployed to that extent.”


King says that he doesn’t expect any major consequence as a result of the “down scaling;” in fact, he says the decision had to be made.


Mark King

“I simply think that yes there will be some, there may be little repercussion or back lash but I think if people understand what we are doing here, that the finances have dried up and we are still trying to find an avenue for them to have a job two months from now, I think we have to look at it and make the calculation of the direction that we have to go. Contrary to that of, if we don’t scale back these two hundred persons, by next week they would’ve worked; and then we wouldn’t have money to pay them anyway and we would have a bigger repercussion. Either or either way, you do damned; yuh don’t, yuh damned”


Prior to this “downscaling”, King said they had had to resort to cutting down the work days from different programs about four months ago.


Mark King

“The total wage bill, inclusive of social security payments stood at one hundred and fifty-eight thousand one hundred and nineteen dollars and eighty five cents per week. In the face of over seven point five million dollars per annum exposure that the program represented, the Ministry indicated that this would need to be reduced significantly by the end of April 2012. The Ministry was able to reduce the payroll down to one hundred and nine thousand and eleven dollars, inclusive again of Social Security payment by the target date, by reducing of employment days for the Southside Rejuvenation Project and the Gang Truce work program, to three to four days respectively.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


King says he will inform the media of his Ministry’s position on the subsequent down-scaling in the upcoming weeks.

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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19 Responses for “200 Southside Rejuvenation Workers fired!”

  1. Storm says:

    With national default, we will have to get used to these problems. We must become a “cash and carry” country, without access to credit to smooth over the dips in revenue.

    It will teach a generation of Belizeans to live within their means, I hope.

  2. marsebo says:

    you havent seen the true face of the the begger Dean Barrow, People cant you see what Dean Barrow is saying , he is saying to you, Go to street protest, union strike, rise up and defend your rights, go for mass demonstration.

    Dean Barrow stole poor Belizean money, land, and hope, do not let this dog to destroy your life for ever.

  3. Rod says:

    Why did this pm just waste 4 million dollars to pay gang members for staying home and doing nothing except for their usual murders and thief this alone shows you what an incompetent twit he is some people have to work hard for a paycheck and others have nothing to do except to do the bidding of this pm like all the murders across the country.

  4. Rod says:

    Watch the whole crowd not one person who is not black you aw tell me that tha Belize they not got no po people who no black why are only black people getting jobs and money fu free what about all the rest of the po people in Belize who no black the race war continues barrow the biggest racist and bigot in Belize it is called racism in reverse. Unu Betta wake up Spanish and the rest a unu non black.

  5. Vuk says:

    I don’t see this as a laughing matter at all, but, I’ve got to say, the way it was carried out seems embarrassingly comical to me. IMO, they should have been more direct from the start; it would have come off better.

    This is also a demonstration that temporary solutions aren’t going to fix the problems that are affecting the younger segment of Belizean society, no; what’s going to solve it are initiatives by the government that are going to permanently facilitate the decline of unemployment throughout the country to acceptable acceptable levels. Otherwise, these youths are going to go back to their lives of crime and make things worse for everybody.

  6. Toledo Man says:

    Now that the elections have passed and is a long way to come, the UDP government will do as they please to hurt the people of Belize, especially Belize City. During the election campaign, they gave they Belize millions of dollars to win the election.
    Belize City you all have been bought and paid for, so u have nothing to complain.Next election, do the right thing. Tek the money and vote them out. Toledo and Stann Creek lead by example.

  7. Da Fool says:

    Is this a trickle down effect of no monies to pay for the Super Bond? Aha! Aha! Are there more repercussions in the works? Aha! Aha!

    Does this means that Mark Espat and his bogus company Hallmark does not get paid either? Aha! Aha!

  8. Belize Heat On FB says:

    Belize Heat News Watch: 200 to 400 GOB employees with the South Side Rejuvenation project were sent home packing, what’s next? Please add your 2 cents on how GOB can create much needed jobs in Belize ?

  9. OH BOY' says:


  10. Chenco says:

    And i just noticed that 95 % of the people are fat. Wonderful life to live.

  11. Mr. Concerned says:

    I am so sick to hear that gangs are paid and nothing productive to show while the rest of the countrymen work hard in the cane, citrus, corn, and banana fields. These people deserve better

  12. Eye in the Sky says:

    This is the beginning of the end for Belize.

    I bet the ministers will still get their 2013 Prado’s in January.

  13. Radical says:

    Pro poor policies meant free monies for votes to south side Belize City Creoles, they won the elections for the UDP, while all the workers in Cayo, Orange Walk Corozal and Ketchi and Mopan Indians in PG work hard and get nothing this UDP goverment is RACIST

  14. BMNJ says:

    All Ministers, Ministry CEOs, and their advisors should get a hair cut on their salaries and stipends starting with the PM.

  15. RAY says:

    Plain & simple, these people got to work extra yrs & getting severance pay even though they won’t be working, THIS IS A JOKE. This Gov’t gives away TAX PAYERS MONEY& wonders why there is none. No Other Nation Pays CRIMINALS LIKE BZ DOES, send them to GAMBIA, the president wants to KILL ALL CRIMINALS BY THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER.

  16. Beleive me says:

    2 “spanish” from Salvapan can chop out wah area bigger than 50 gangbangers. this program is a waste of taxpayers money. you see them reaching the work site at eight thirthy – nine in the morning, they beg a passer by for a dolla for a cigarette, then they ring your doorbel and ask ‘ Miss you gat cole watta” they chop for 20 minutes they they sit under a tree and smoke a lee weed. then they verbally harrass every passerby and 12 oclock they go home . Even Mark King figured out that this is non sustainable.

  17. Vuk says:

    I don’t see the racism in these policies, “Radical”; rather, I see them as a halfhearted attempt to help contain the national issue of crime. I would have thought otherwise if the government was acting in a manner that warranted such accusations. As of this moment, however, I don’t see that. In addition, if this problem and the rest of the other problems that Belize faces are to be resolved, then we must, as a people, find and implement the right solutions to them instead of getting ourselves caught up in this PUDP game (i.e., making unsubstantiated allegations because of hatred for the ruling party, buying into promises made by politicians that they can’t fulfill, etc.) and playing into the hands of those individuals who want to keep Belize in this horrendous state of penury because of the financial position that their corruption has allowed them to achieve.

  18. AND??? says:

    Be quiet Rod! ’twas time something was done for the minority of all minorities. For those who are counted by many as the least of human kind…

  19. NY says:

    If you want to fix something do it right from the outset, don’t commit to a temperary fix because in the not so distant future, it wil cost you double or triple the initial cost. What the GOB did was a band-aid fix to a very difficult problem i.e.POVERTY. This was something that they knew was going to be unsustainable, its like what the good old saying says “you can’t give a fish to a man one day and expect him to survive on it for the rest of his life, you have to teach that man how to fish so that he can have fish until the day he expire. The GOB need to teach these people to have dreams and ambition; learn a trade so as to live productive lives and to become a contributing factor in society. People needs to become innovative and create/start their own small business, Bze is lacking so many things, and folks need to realize this fact.

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