Posted: Monday, April 19, 2021. 1:43 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The Belize Police Association (BPA), which represents members of the Belize Police Department at the rank of Sergeant and lower, is asking the government to reconsider the 10 percent pay cut and increment freeze for police officers.
In a letter written to the Minister of Home Affairs, the association stressed that, with the salaries and expenses of police officers, the incredibly difficult nature of policing, and Belize’s difficult economic times, taking a10 percent cut could have a serious impact on the officer’s morale and overall performance.
“The predominant sentiment of the membership is that a 10% salary cut and hold on increments for (3) three years will cause grave financial strain, may cause hesitancy in the performance of duties and may kindle illicit and unethical behaviors within the rank and file of the Belize Police Department,” the BPA said.
The association warned that decreasing the salaries of officers and the behaviors that might result from it, could bring the department into disrepute and damage the relationship between the police and the public which is critical in maintaining law and order in the nation.
The association also pleaded for government to find alternative means to saving money than cutting police officers’ salaries, given the sacrifices the men and women in uniform have made in recent years, being on the forefront of the national COVID-19 response, and even making the economic sacrifice of agreeing to an increment freeze for the period 2019-2020.
“The service our members provide for the citizenry of Belize is so essential and should not be overlooked. Could you imagine a society where law enforcers are absent? It will be a state of total disorder and anarchy. This is why police officers work every hour of everyday, Monday to Sunday and all holidays, we are not paid overtime but our membership remains dedicated to serve the citizens and country of Belize,” the BPA added.
The association’s board said that it is open to discussing other means of cost-saving with the Ministry and awaits a favorable response on the issue. Their pleas come at a time where public servants are engaged in sustained industrial action against the government regarding its hardline position that salaries will be cut.
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