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Jan 21, 2013

“Impossible!” P.M. comments on salary adjustment

The hundreds of millions in dollars of relief brought by a restructured bond may have given teachers hope that the government will be able to grant pending salary adjustments. But the Prime Minister has crushed all hopes of those salary increases occurring in the near future. Following today’s press conference with the chairman of the bondholders committee, the P.M. called the demands by the Belize National Teachers Union, “a complete financial impossibility” and “put everything at risk, jeopardizing the future.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“At this juncture it is a complete financial impossibility. That’s where we are. I repeat though that hopefully there is more than one way to skin a cat and we can talk to them about alternatives that would not put the entire nation on a back foot that would not destroy what it is we have worked so painstakingly to try to achieve by way of the debt restructuring. To ask what is being asked; putting everything that we are working for at risk, jeopardizing the future and obliging if we were to contemplate trying to do this—it is thirty-five percent for juniors and thirty percent for seniors. To oblige us to look at as one example raising the GST on the population to an excess of twenty-five percent to try to realize the monies—and of course the law of diminishing returns will no doubt set in—but when you calculate the kind of revenue yield you get from each additional percentage point of GDP. To ask us to raise the GST in effect to in excess of twenty-five percent in order to pay these salary increases strikes me as quite honestly a bridge too far. We are told that a demonstration is being planned for the twenty-ninth; to be followed by possible strike action. So I don’t know what there is to denounce. The government’s position was that we don’t have the money at this time. This is an extraordinary juncture in which to propose adding over three years two hundred and almost fifty dollars to the wage bill which already represents in excess of fifty percent of recurrent revenue. Indeed as you indicated Minister Faber said, we’re going to possibly have some difficulty with the bondholders if it appears we are prepared to accede to the sorts of numbers that the demands represent—even post restructuring—because as we keep insisting, there will still be a gap to close.”


So at the end of the month, the country’s educators may leave the classroom to teach a lesson in the capital. 

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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17 Responses for ““Impossible!” P.M. comments on salary adjustment”

  1. Storm says:

    Mark this date on the calendar, I agree with part of what PM Barrow said. A 30% pay increase for ANY public employee is impossible, and an offensive demand by the teachers.

    Assuming they have had no salary increase for 5 years, that averages a 6% increase per year — almost TRIPLE the actual inflation rate during that time.

    Talk of increasing the GST is equally ridiculous, because raising taxes always slows economic growth. Someone in GOB should study economic history, and learn that the way to grow the economy is to reduce the tax burden, let people keep money in their pockets to spend and invest in the Jewel. In the USA presidents as diverse as Democrat John Kennedy and Republican Ronald Reagan discovered the magic — lowering tax rates INCREASED the tax money collected by the government. As a matter of historical fact, Reagan LOWERED the income tax rate from 70% to 35%, and DOUBLED the money collected by the government! [USA has never had a GST, and when it imposed a tax directly on "luxury items" like private planes and yachts, the tax killed those industries and resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. When the tax was repealed, the jobs eventually returned.]

    A person who is too stubborn to learn from history is some kind of mule or fool, take your pick.

  2. student and belizean says:

    i support my teachers 100%. ministers CEO’s and high ranked persons in politics should give all that party money all that allowances they are getting. they site there fat butts and do nothing.

    compared to our teachers when you don’t have for lunch they do buy you lunch i always see my teacher buying things for the class room out of her salary they get $1 and they give back around $0.60 Cents to the class room not if they want they have cause if that is not the case they are penalized by not getting a good grade from GOB..

    NO teacher is slave.. Patrick Faber & Barrow if you where a teacher with experience from the class room with out a drunker brother and a crashed car who is owned by the people money/taxes you would have a better idea and stand with teachers of Belize.

    if you want to fight crime a good step is to start in the class rooms!!!

    i as a student stand with my teachers my role models. and i call all of Belize to stand with me and support our country builders. they are the core of Belize…

  3. Rod says:

    Teachers unu deserve whey unu get unu no understand their is no money all the ministers have looted the gov coffers all the monies are in their bank accounts so therefore you cannot get a raise unu deserve it for being mute on this useless incompetent pm and gov . It’s too late now for a raise but you can do the right thing and bring this pm and gov to their knees and demand their resignation.

  4. matti says:

    I am appalled at these so – called educators. They want their money even if it is off the skin of their fellow citizens. The government does not have the money, regardless of whose fault it is that we are in this position, everyone will suffer like the other Caribbean countries who have to overtax their citizens in order to pay the debts and keep their teachers happy. The opposition can say what they want and demand whatever, but if they were in this position, striking teachers would be laid off and taxes gone higher. they’ve done it before and would do it again. A long time ago Belize was for Belizeans but Musa and his cronies sold it all to private enterprises and left us paying debts that we did not incur. Think about where your taxes go., Educators should think about their fellow citizens and not base their needs on what they see some politicians doing money wise. But then again some of our teachers are just reacting on “monkey see, monkey do”.

  5. Belizean Pride says:

    I won’t accept that barrow, let the teachers take a stand since you have money to waste on scums of this society why not pay more the teachers that deserve it for the benefit of their families and the school students also. better paid teachers means a better service to our kids.
    If you plan to cut the demands well let there be a school close for a week I wouldn’t mind having my kid at home for the sake of the teachers.

  6. Truth says:

    Agree with Storm..Belizean’s deserve to know what and how our tax money is used. print it on amandala or Belize times.. and if it doesn’t add out send them to jail and before that cease their property to compensate for the lost income and mismanagement.

  7. Buju says:

    I myself would want and increase in salary but it is completely ridicilous in these ecomomic times to get an increase of 30%!
    Where will the money come from??? It is obvious that the leaders of these unions are being manipulated by the opposition to cause some sort of unrest with the government to fulfill their own agenda!

  8. jesse says:

    What is the salary of the politicians in belize?no one knows..they get free gasoline,free vehicle,free everything,thats why the economy dont affect them.anyone who supports the pup and udp criminal organization is a traitor to their country men.

  9. Nadine Harris says:

    GOB has never come out boasting that it has excess cash flow to increase salary. Its always the same cry, “no money no deh”, Yet they always drive these big SUVs, Sunday to Sunday, have money to give ganbangers, put them up in houses, give them money and transport to go to free zones, etc

  10. Emancipate says:

    All these social issues affecting our country has to be blamed on our government. They have to learn to take responsibility.

    In the beginning they bloated that they can definitely make a change. On their first term, they blamed everything to the previous government and now they don’t know what to say. Remember that now you are the government and you are currently in charge.

    It’s just pathetic to see how our government is handling all these issues. They are looking like narrow minded fools!

    Prime Minister, is taxes the only source of Revenue? Instead of having stupid meetings with gang leaders, take some time and discover other means of revenue.

    Pressure your Minister of Agriculture to seek markets abroad. We are reach in natural and human resources. These same people abroad can train our people. Take back some land from Gapi and invest it in agriculture.

    I’ve been emphasizing this all along. Obtain some acres of fertile land. Develop this area with some comfortable machinery, huts, water, food, etc. (making it livable and nothing fancy). Then make it mandatory that all unemployed youths between the age of 12 to 20 will be quarantined in this place. They will earn a salary of course. The government can also form cooperatives that can be managed by young educated people and they will handle the production of these commodities. The government can limit the the importation of these commodities being produced so that it can be sold locally. Of course, these products have to be of good quality. In addition, if a market is open outside Belize, it can be beneficially in many ways.

    Now, what this will do to our youths? Youths don’t like hard work. Therefore, this can motivate them to study harder or motivate them to seek a better job.

    Bottom line, the government should find ways to avoid having our youths out there relaxing instead of doing something constructive that is beneficial to them and our country.

    If our Government Leaders would put the same effort and energy like they do during elections, we would be in a better country. Government Leaders there is so many things that you can do but you guys are just lazy in all aspects. We expected more from you!!!!

  11. Steve says:

    Buju should question where his PM gets money to pay gangs a hefty sum weekly, where he got money to buy ham and turkey for Christmas for his lackeys; where he got millions of dollars to pay for lawyers in the BTl and BEL debacles. But sad to hear no money dey for teachers and public service workers.

  12. Nimbo says:

    While I do sympathize with the teachers, they have to be realistic. 30% across the board is just plain unrealistic even in the best of economic times. As well, pay increase should be based on merit and performance just like at any other private company. When you work in private companies raises are not automatic or even yearly and almost always based on merit and performance.

    I know of many teachers who take time to research and plan lessons in a way that transmits direct to the student, applying modern day techniques and not stuck “by the book” like in the past. Many have to take pocket money not only to cover lunches for some students but to actually buy supplies,pay balances for parties, stay back way after school lets out to assist, not with pay like some, but on their own time to assist slow learners. They have to buy supplies for their classes with their own pocket money since the school GMs want their classes just so.
    However, we have those teachers as well who do not care who learns or not- who passes on to the next class or fails. We have those that throughout the day you can find them sitting down and lecturing at a primary school level, too lazy to get up and walk around the class. We find those that do not care if a child hands in homework or not, we find those in schools that congregate in groups at break time, lunch time and soon as school closes to catch up on the latest but do not give one second to see if all children have finished their work and can be dismissed. We have those that give homework everyday because they have to and every single day the h/w goes uncorrected/checked.

    So, all in all, we should have a system in place so that when it is instituted it can be done in a fair and concise manner. We should not be rewarding negative behavior.

  13. Belizean Pride says:

    with so many atrocities all these corrupted politicians shouldn’t we start a revolution my people? mein we’re fed up but we don’t seem to start one to show this jack@$$es that we’re fed up about their lame excuses, lack of leadership and corruption from top to bottom.
    we gotto unite to start one someday and fight for our freedom of this scums.

  14. Disown mi country says:

    Emancipate: You are so right. That would also eradicate most if not all of the gang problems.

  15. Bear says:

    @Emancipate has some good new ideas.

    But I’m ready to march with @Belizean Pride. Power to the People!

  16. Toth says:

    Their lots of other revenues coming out of Belize
    you’ll just never hear about it, maybe till someone get caught. What they do is,throw up
    a smoke screen, just so the poor man always get the short
    end of the stick, by taxing the hell outta them. Can any of these politrickcian come
    clean with all their assets? I bet they wouldn’t have no problem with giving themselves a raise.
    Like Gil Scott Heron said channel 5! the real revolution will not be Tell Lie vise.

  17. Genotu Rembiuos says:


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