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Needed: serious cost cutting

The general political perception in Belize has always been that the PUP always fielded a wider selection of business people within their leadership and administrative management that the UDP. In other words, the PUP seemed more keen to get business people to run for elected office and hence become part of their upper leadership.
This perception can no longer be cast on the current administration, as it is now filled with not only professionals, but also with proven businessmen. The question of whether this will yield better results is usually determined by the elector every five years.
There have been cases where it was obvious that there would be a change with government as with the last PUP administration. Whether or not the mass out pour of support for the demonstration by the union this past week is any indication of things to come is yet to be proven. What must be applauded, is GOB’s willing to sit and listen Hopefully will translate into the right decision as it pertains to teachers’ remuneration.
As a former public officer, I have always been extremely supportive of salary and benefit reform for all public officers. Let’s face it, compared to the private sector, the Public Service is one of the most poorly paid organizations in the country.
There are some who are properly compensated within the organization. But collectively, some of the salaries are pathetic and its difficult to understand how some people actually survive off it. One of the main reasons why a majority of professionals leave the service is because the salaries and benefits are at times simply too small to service things like student loans, which has now become a necessity. Also leaders cannot under emphasize the contribution that teachers have made in our lives.
I can proudly say that two of the persons who were able to push me to reach my full potential were teachers. Yet teachers remain underpaid like the rest of the Public Service and this is a travesty. The undeniable reality is that salaries need to be improved.
Undeniably the service that we sometimes receive from Public Officers is reflective of the salary and benefits they earn. The level of professionalism in these offices must be raised and may need complete restructuring.
What has often added insult to injury, is the fact that political appointees and contract officers enjoy far better compensation than those professionals, who have over the years, toiled to make the Service what it is.
While there is no running away from contract officers and political appointees, the government must strike a balance with the numbers that are hired and what they are paid. In some instances these people are not needed and at times positions are even created for them. This as any businessman will tell you, adds to the bottom line.
As the world slowly ebbs out of its financial crisis, the government cannot continue operating as it has or as others have historically run the nation. GOB needs to be innovative and embark on massive austerity or cost cutting measures to ensure that teachers and by extension all pubic officers, receive better salaries and benefits because they are the backbone and foundation that makes this country operate. Better yet – they have earned and deserve it.
It’s all about the people!

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