REPORT #475 March 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Whistle blowers in the Public Officers Civil Service Union of Belize, claim that chauffers of the PUP party wholesale appointed Cabinet Ministers ( just about every elected party member in the legislature ) collect more money than senior educated and long service Public Service Union civil servants. Average income per year for 95 % of Belizeans in Belize is around $2300 USA. Or $4600 Belizean funny money.

This article comes from a biased source (The Guardian, which is the UDP opposition newspaper) and therefore should (like all news) be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

It reads like someone has been doing some research, though...and if anyone in the know can prove it is incorrect, I assume that they will do so in an equally public matter. If these numbers are right, its pretty outrageous.

Ironically, a very similar story was published the same day in the San Jose Mercury News, about how certain California ex legislators are being appointed to cushy positions on public boards and commissions, to the tune of some $100K per year, in return for attending two or three meetings a year....

Whistle blower story:

" When I grow up, I want to be a Minister's driver in Belize!"

While public servants and teachers had to demonstrate for an increase in salary, drivers of the Ministers of government, well paid contract officers and well-connected PUPs continue to ride high on bloated salaries, lavish allowances, ridiculous overtime pay and generous governmental grants. Robert Wagner a.k.a. Small Change, driver to the Prime Minister has a base salary of $19,500.00. Last year, with overtime pay, subsistence allowance and responsibility allowance he took home a total of $63,597.25. Following close behind is Ashton Longsworth Driver to the Attorney General. His base salary is $11,700.00. He took home $51,164.50. We are not sure what qualifications Allan ¤DuckË Pollard, driver to the Minister of Education entered the public service with but his base salary is $24,030.00. That did not stop him from taking home $49,735.50. Not to be outdone, Patty Arceo who lives in San Pedro and has no responsibilities other than to harass policemen on the island, still spent enough time on the road for her driver, Gilbert McDonald to take home $31,177.00. There is also the driver to the former Minister of National Security, George Domingo who took home $36,116.50 (and we all thought Jorge was different).

Whenever there was occasion to look at government spending, public officers have always been the victims of the belt tightening. They have been retrenched, their wages have been frozen and they continue to be the favourite whipping boys of this present administration. Government blankly refuses to touch the sacred cow that is contract officers, and what public servants know, and have been saying all along is the service is made top heavy by the hundreds of contract workers. Workers such as the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources that takes home $48,000 per year - only he and his Minister know what he does. In the Ministry of Health, the Public Relations consultant takes home $41,000. PUP candidate Phillip Brackett is still employed by the government of Belize and taking home $46,500. All in all there are forty-four contract workers in the Ministry of Budget Management alone, workers who are doing nothing more than duplicating the jobs of public officers, while being trained by them.

Public Officers want to know why is it that the Minister of Health╠s daughter got a $100,000 education grant, and why CEO Cresencio Sosa╠s son had a $169,000 education loan written off.

Public Officers want to know how is it that middle and senior managers who have been in the service for over twenty years, are not making anywhere near the kind of money drivers are taking home. What kind of a service can senior managers hope to craft if junior officers see that it is political patronage and not hard work and industry that reap the reward of large salaries? How can morale in the service be kept up if career officers continue to see the waste and corruption, and continue to train political flunkies with no relevant knowledge or experience? How much longer can career public officers tolerate Ministers out of control and blatant waste, reckless borrowing, and unacceptable splurging? How much longer can Public Officers tolerate this PUP government?

The government annual revenue cash cow is about $330 million Belize per year, or $165 million USA, to run the whole country.

The same media recently announced that U.K. auditors went back to Blighty in a huff! There were insufficient statistics and financial records to do an audit. The political parties consisently over 40 years, do not keep financial records to hide the skimming of public funds, secret contract sweetheart deals, alleged baksheesh from monopolies and millions siphoned off for political party campaigns.

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