Government protecting hustles


The Government of Belize had representatives negotiating with the unions to make them accept a 10% salary cut and increment freeze for the next three years. In those negotiations, as sweeteners, the Government promised to pass a Whistle Blower’s legislation to ensure transparency and accountability in government. It seems however that what the government says is completely the opposite of what it does. By the actions of the Financial Secretary, it is clear that this administration does not want any form of transparency or accountability in government.
On Tuesday March 30, the Financial Secretary issued a memorandum with the subject, “Confidentiality in the Belize Public Service.” In it, the FinSec reminded public officers of the Public Service Regulation No. 47 (1) which reads as follows:
“By virtue of regulation 16 a public officer shall not, without the approval of the Chief Executive Officer or head of department-
(a) make public or cause to be made public;
(b) communicate or cause communication to the media or any other unauthorized person; or
(c) make private copies of,
any documents, papers or other information which may come to his knowledge or possession in his capacity as a public officer.”
The reminder comes immediately after a series of documents surfaced which showed some transactions that appeared untoward. Among these were documents which show the government disposing of 4 narco planes for just over 500 thousand dollars. There was also documentation released which shows the sale of weapons from the armory to CEO’s and PUP cronies for a pittance. Then there was the release of documents which shows that preferential treatment was given to a Bar-B-Q seller to procure 7 vehicles for the Ministry of Health.
All the released document seemed to be matters of urgent concern, but the Ministry of Finance, which is headed by the Prime Minister, took offense to them. It would seem that they would have preferred that the general public not find out about these transactions so that their cronies could continue to feast off government coffers in the middle of austere times.
We repeat, their offer to the unions of coming up with a Whistle Blower’s legislation is just paying the unions lip-service. After all, if indeed they were aiming for transparency and accountability, they would have no problem in these documents being released. We would go further to suggest that these transactions need to be made public from the get-go for them to stand the test of public scrutiny.