Municipal employees should get civil service status after two years

By Wellington C. Ramos

For years now I have been hearing that when Belizeans are being employed by the city councils and the town boards, they serve at the pleasure of the political party and the mayor and councilors and their jobs could be terminated by them or by the new political party at anytime they choose to do so. I think that this is unfair to those employees who have served with professionalism and distinction. Plus, they have families that they must feed, bills to pay and many other financial obligations to take care of.

In the content of the Bill, the minister can also specify what positions would qualify the employee to be upgraded from a political employee to a civil servant, because some politicians like to employ non-professionals due to political favours and that would not be in the public's best interest.

In the news recently, I was reading about employees being terminated from the Orange Walk Town Board by the new PUP mayor. But this is not the first time this has happened in Belize with the two major political parties UDP and PUP and this practice is not good for our people and country.

If this Bill was to pass, it would be welcomed by most Belizeans PUP and UDP alike. It could end up benefitting the UDP because this is something the Belizean people will never forget. Belizeans in Belize and the United States are constantly bringing this complaint to my attention and I promised them that I was going to write about it. I am a Belizean and I have relatives who are both PUPs and UDPs like all Belizeans. I do not want to see any injustice done against my relatives because of his or her party affiliation.

We always say in Belize, "Blood thicker dan water." Which means that people will have feelings for their loved ones despite what they do in most situations. They have the right to join any political party they choose to join and we do not have to agree with them but respect that fundamental right. To punish them because they exercised their rights is inhumane and undemocratic.

When it comes to other jobs with the central government it is the same problem and maybe it is now time to deal with the status of all political employees and do not deal with it based on the individual person on a case by case situation. I have seen some people in Belize given some high paying jobs who have no qualifications whatsoever just because they are relatives, friends, supporters of a party or some other reason or reasons unknown to me and this patronizing and nepotism is becoming disgusting to most Belizeans who are complaining. Belize need to have professionals working in the government service, who value public service, and if they are doing a good job in serving the general public they should remain on their jobs.