For weeks, officers within the Belize Police Department on Ambergris Caye have been complaining about the government’s decision to cut their allowances. The cut came into effect on January 2015, three months after the government had announced an increase in the salary of public officers, including police officers. Affected officers on Ambergris Caye claim that with their current salary, they are hardly surviving on the island, living “hand to mouth.” Not only will the cut in allowances make it difficult to send part of their earnings to their family members back home, but surviving on the island will be even more difficult now.

The issue is not only affecting officers on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, but many other public officers countrywide. However, because of the high cost of living on the islands, public officers who had been enjoying a few allowances to offset the expenses on the islands will be the most affected.

“Police officers here on the island are not happy. They took away our hardship allowance which was expected to rise from $75.00 to $300 from October of last year. We had no idea of this cut from our allowances until we went to the bank to get our salary. Nobody told us anything and it came as surprise to us. We were expecting the increase in allowance of up to $300 as was published in a memo effective October 2014."

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