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Year in review 2021 Part V. Social Issues

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Posted: Friday, December 31, 2021. 5:29 pm CST.

V. Social Issues

The trade unions took on the Government with both fists in April after a ten percent pay cut was announced for teachers and public officers, with the Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU), Public Service Union (PSU), and Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) launching strikes, pickets and other forms of industrial action for weeks until a set of compromises was worked out. The government agreed to reconsider the pay cut once the economy showed signs of recovery.

The unions also built on their announced intention to be a vanguard against corruption, participating in the stop-start Commission of Inquiry into the sale of government assets in the last ten months of the previous administration. Chaired by Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, the inquiry so far has produced not much more than a probe into improper relationships that allowed rock-bottom sales. It has taken an indefinite hiatus with no indication of when it will resume.

Turning to education, it too has been stop-start. Efforts to reopen schools in April led to a rash of COVID cases and a return to hybrid learning for most schools. The new school year in August and September coincided with another wave of COVID and another halt, though the Government is determined to try again in January.

And after an unkind hurricane season last year, Belize was mostly spared in 2021, though the threat of drought remains in some parts of the country long-term.

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