Half a million for Contract officers in Office of the Prime Minister

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In the run up to the General Elections, the PUP took umbrage to the number of contract officers that were hired by the UDP administration and pledged to not do the same. Well, it is easier said than done as immediately after the elections they had to find a place for the talented few Belizeans that are out there who happen to be affiliated with the PUP.
Based on a document of new hires forwarded to the Guardian Newspaper, there have been a marathon of hires in the various ministries. Some of the more amorphous and needless positions are all contract officers. Among some of the hires is Digno Polanco, who was hired on contract last year as a Senior Technical Advisor in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise. He is being paid a whopping $76,340.00 in salary. Apparently, there is not enough talent within the ministry that this gentleman had to be rehired.
It appears that the Office of the Prime Minister was also in much need of talent and subsequently had a number of persons hired. On the same scale as Polanco is Marcelino Avila, who for the same salary as Polanco, was rehired on contract also last year to be a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Again, the lack of talent within that ministry has forced the government to supplement the little talent there is by placing a $76,340.00 burden on the Belizean taxpayers.
Diana Price Murillo is yet another hire costing $64,410.00. She too was brought on in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as an Administrative Officer I. We are not certain if Alex Peter Vega will be a kind of teacher to the talentless individuals in Cabinet but we do know that he is being hired for a significant $63,600.00 as a Safe School Coordinator within the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Then there is Ian Beresford Courtenay, who for $54,900.00 will be a Senior Officer in Investment & E-Governance in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
A position which caught our attention was that of Evan Hugh Tillett who for $60,000 will be an advisor. We are not certain who he will be advising and on what matter as there is no ministry under which he falls. He apparently is just an all-around talented individual.
With all the hiring taking place, there apparently will be much more clerical work to be done, so two new Executive Assistants in the Office of the Prime Minister were hired. These are Graciana Nah who will earn $40,000.00 and Solymar Angeles Itzab, who apparently is being short changed, receiving $39,600.00
We are hard pressed to figure out how a social worker fits in the portfolio of the Prime Minister’s Office but there he is Emanuel Alejandro Yama who will serve as a Social Worker for $22,680.00 in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. All told these positions will be costing the government an additional $421,530 during the most financially trying times this country has ever seen.
But the story is far from being done here. The hiring of needless individuals continued across ministries. Manuel Matus Jr. secured a post as Director Projects and Programme in the Ministry of Health and Wellness for $40,000.08 a year. Sonia Lissette Blanco is now an Instructor in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology receiving $36,720.96.
While those positions are new, so too are the positions of various public relations officers. As we understood it the Government has a press office, which deals with all matters related to public relations. It seems that there are ministries who need to do their own thing such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise, who for redundancy’s sake rehired Luis Pook as Communications Director for a $36,000 contract.
Then you have the man who is as old as time, Omar Silva, who for a $27,403.00 contract becomes the Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries. He cannot be too happy, after all his counterpart, Pook, is being paid far more than he is. All his hard work in the early mornings seems to have meant nothing. So while he is more talented than those who will never be hired by the PUP, it seems that the Animal Farm still applies.
Staying in the public relations arena the Ministry of Finance has hired Michelle Yvonne Rodriguez for a salary of $27,403.00.
There are also a number of Drivers and Minister’s Aides hired like Bernardo Guadencio Bennett in the Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Affairs for $31,200.00. Karim Adle is also one of those Aides receiving $24,000.00 in the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Jervis Jevon Banner has also been hired at $24,000.00 as a Minister’s aide in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing. By all appearances, this minister has a lot of aiding that is needed as another Henry Moreira has been hired for $24,000.00. Also needing aid is the Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries who hired Susana Daniels for $24,000.00.
The secretarial pool in the government service seemed to not be good enough for the new ministers and so Sherwin Kent Garcia was hired in the Ministry of Home Affairs for $24,891.00. The same applies to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing where Christie Racquel Reyes and Fiona Elvia Gillet were both hired for $24,891.00 each.
Some other hires which seemed odd to us are Obidio Estrada, who is now the Assistant Technical Supervisor in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing; he will work for a contract of $28,056.00. Geoffrey Anthony Waight was hired as Project Manager in the Ministry of Health and Wellness for $20,406.96. Wrapping up this list is Samuel Calles who for $19,641.12 is some kind of Building Superintendent in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing.
Other hires that caught our attention were 22 drivers/handymen, who were hired across all ministries.