But it was like a tale of two polticial fortunes today. While the PM confessed grime foreboding about his party's political future, he also promised to hold all the UDP town councils in the next municipal election.
And he also disclosed what the teacher's wouldn't say yesterday: how much their raise and that of public officers is working out to be:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"Based on the numbers that we're looking at, they're likely to get something like a 4% salary increase. They cannot get 10%, and you, Said, know better than anybody else, man. That would be irresponsible. Look, Mr. Speaker, it is not just that they're getting a something like a 4% increase, you know. You look and see what's happening around us. In Barbados, 3,000 public officers are being laid off, in Grenada, a 3-year wage freeze. Notwithstanding that, this Government, is giving teachers and public officers - the way it appears now; caution, the final calculations aren't in - something like 24 million dollars in salary increases. And remember, when we do that in July for this fiscal year, that's locked in forever. So whatever happens with the recurrent revenue next year and the year after, it doesn't matter. The 4% will continue forever and ever amen."
And while they will get a raise, they won't get that floor which the teachers are demanding. The PM explained why:
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"They were saying 5%. It was always my position, I am giving you fully 50% of any increase in recurrent revenue that the Government collects. If that turns out to be as high as 5%, hallelujah. If it is less than 5%, that's what it is. Remember what this means. While there has been these increases in collections, which will now allow them to get, it seems, either 4 or close to 4% increase, recurrent spending has been exceeding recurrent revenue. It means that while in the normal course all the recurrent revenue increase would go to fund the increase in recurrent spending, which hopefully would all be for good things that would help to improve the quality of life of the Belizean people. That can't happen now. Half of your current increase is reserved, and will go strictly on the salaries for teachers and public officers. So, the rest of the public, you see, this is a group that feels itself extremely entitled, and while there is no doubt in my mind that they are deserving of a raise, and that they are a very important constituent element of our society, they do not make up the whole society. And when I take half of the increase in recurrent revenue, which in the normal course should be spent on all the society, and spend that on them, that is a huge plus for them."
The PM said that at last Thursday's meeting where these matters were discussed – the Union Leaders who attended – that does not include BNTU President Luke Palacio – seemed satisfied.