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The September celebrations have come and gone and memories are all that remain as the entire Nation of Belize celebrated with pride the country’s 34th anniversary of Independence. As is customary, the formal Independence Day festivities are held in Belmopan with the traditional pomp and ceremony befitting the thirty-fourth anniversary of independence. The Prime Minister gave a glowing report of the state of the nation pointing to several initiatives and before an audience of elected ministers, dignitaries, other invited guests and the wider public, he lauded the work of his political party as the present administration and promised an even brighter outlook for Belizeans with many projects underway. The PM outlined that with the great growth in the first quarter, it has provided for a third salary increase for public officers.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-22_at_8.35.47_PMHonorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“Because we expect continued economic and revenue growth, next year should see a third salary raise for Government workers and this is really quite extraordinary. They are the largest individual sector workforce and the multiplier effect of these big boosts in their disposable income cannot be stressed enough. They are also the bulwark of the middle class and this administration has always been focused on two things: bootstrapping the poor and expanding the middle class. It is with pride, then, that we point to the social protection and job-creation efforts, especially in construction, we have chartered for those at the margins.”  


Viewers may recall that since June, KHMH Staffers have felt discontent over a decision by Central Government where for two years in a row have reject their demand for a salary increase comparable to that which has been granted to teachers and public officers, represented under the umbrella of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, who have been granted a 6% increase in 2014 and 8% in 2015.

In his very glittery speech, the PM announced the buyout of the debt owed by Belizeans in all hospitals countrywide and promised the staffers their salary increase…

Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize

“It is out of this subsidy that their salaries come, they see that GOB has been able to find more to pay its public officers, and they want equal treatment, the same access to Government’s bounty. While the situation is not quite as straightforward as they make out, we have heard their cry. And the position is that GOB will find the funds to provide them with the salary increase that, after negotiations, was agreed with the KHMH Board and the Cabinet sub-committee. We demanded something in return, though. We expect that the staff and administration at the KHMH will begin to demonstrate immediately their ability to engage in efficient cost recovery and the cutting of waste; and that they will start to move now towards the financial self-sustainability that autonomy for the KHMH was supposed to mean. Also as a matter of principle GOB does not want simply to hand over the monies for the salary increase as a gift. We will therefore treat it as a buyout of the debt owed by consumers, by the Belizean public, to the KHMH. As of year-end 2014, that totals in unpaid bills amounted to around 9 million dollars. Of course, in trading off these bills that people owe to the KHMH, we won’t be giving KHMH dollar for dollar. We will, though, pay them enough to do two things. The first is to fund the salary increase to the expected tune of just about 2 million dollars."

A total of 11 million dollars in debts owed by Belizeans at the KHMH and in hospitals around the country will be written off. This move the PM says, is his gift to all Belizeans for Independence Day.

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