General

A special Christmas wish

There is no doubt that party politics play an important part in the way our country is structured and governed.
The result is that political interference has virtually crippled every decision making process in this nation and rendered those who are supposed to rightfully make the decisions, powerless.
As a people we have pretty much succumbed to the idea that the political establishments have total rule over most aspects of lives for the five years that they are in power. Yet we fail to realize that power can only be lost if a population is if forcefully or wilfully given up – so it is impossible for those who have harnessed all the power to be totally blamed.
The people of Belize must be held equally accountable for the actions of their elected leaders, because we are the ones who allow them to behave in the manner that they do. Whenever we change our attitude from that of complaining to one of action, we will be able to get out of this deep sleep that we have fallen into. But unlike the case of Snow White who had a rescuer, there is no knight in shining armor to come to our rescue.
The Public Service is the professional arm of the government and is tasked with the day to day affairs of the people and the nation of Belize in accordance with the mandate set by the ruling administration.
Simply put, the administration in power sets a mandate and the people of Belize elect them based on the mandate that is set. The Public Service then steps in to execute this mandate within the scope of the constitution of the nation and the laws, rules and regulations which govern the Public Service.
It must be noted however, that elected official and government ministers are not a part of the Public Service. However like any other democratically elected government, any ruling administration will have political appointees, whose task it is to work hand in hand with the Public Service in order to accomplish common goals and objectives.
Neither political appointees nor government ministers have the authority to alter the rules and regulations which govern the Public Service and therefore cannot and should not seek to do so. On the other hand, it is the duty of Pubic Officers to be knowledgeable of their own authority and those of their ministers and political appointees who work with them.
It is an open secret that the Public Service has been corrupted by the political parties in Belize. The common practice of rewarding those who support you and punish those who don’t, hold true in the Public Service because those working within the service have allowed this to happen. In most cases this is because of a genuine fear of losing one’s job but in other cases some people prefer to work in an atmosphere where the rules are vague and the possibility of a reward based on party and personal loyalties exist.
The professionals within the service want the service to be run as a professional organization and rightfully that should be the way it is done.
I do not normally address specific issues in my articles, but because I have had the honour of serving in the Public Service, I feel a special kinship with those who have and continue to work in the field.
Last week the case involving the sudden and almost immediate transfer of the tourism WPC from San Pedro for essentially doing her job flies in the face of all Public Officers in this nation. It demonstrates not only the arrogance of the elected officials we have tasked to govern this nation, but also the weakness of those within the service who were too intimidated to carry out his wishes.
The Minister of Tourism is neither the Minister of Police nor the Commissioner of Police and while I fully understand that he has a responsibility both as the minister responsible for tourism and as the Area Representative for San Pedro, his authority stops there.
There are set procedures in place to enact transfers within the Public Service and none is based on the merit of an assessment of a minister who has virtually zero experience in law enforcement. This is not the first time that something like this has happened and more disturbing, is the fact that it is something that has commonly happened throughout the history of this country. The problem is that we continue to allow it to happen. However, for it to happen in 2012 is an outright shame and in the words of the minister, I make no apologies.
It’s all about the people!

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