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Second nominee for chair of Public Service Commission falls ill; Public Service Union chafes at delay

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2022. 7:07 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Prime Minister has informed the Cabinet that after accepting to serve as the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Cresencio Sosa Sr. requested that his name be withdrawn from the post due to illness. The Cabinet shares best wishes to Sosa, a long-time public officer, for a full recovery.

It follows the withdrawal of Moises Cal as a nominee after concern was raised about his past activities as a diplomat.

But the Public Service Union (PSU) expressed its “concern and utmost disappointment” on behalf of its membership in a statement yesterday, Wednesday, at the delay in appointing a chairman and members of the Commission, and accused the Government of wanting “to continue with the politicization of the Public Service Commission,” which it alleges contravenes its Plan Belize agenda.

The Union says it has been “inundated” with calls from public officers in three classes: those waiting to be appointed or confirmed to positions in the Public Service; those who have pending disciplinary matters before the Commission, and particularly retired public officers who have yet to receive their retirements benefits from the Government and have exhausted their salary advance considerations with the Treasury Department.

The Union’s biggest concern is for the third class, which it says Government has left “anxious and desperate as a result of their inability to meet mortgage payments and other financial commitments, including providing for their families and meeting the educational expenses of their children.”

It recommends that one Alfredo Cruz be appointed as chairman at least on an interim basis to deal particularly with matters pertaining to retirement benefits so that the livelihood of retirees can be safeguarded. It further considers that the gratuities due to retirees should be paid with interest.

Separately, the Union calls on the Prime Minister to task the acting Auditor General Dorothy Bradley and her office to create a team to address the issue of aging Income Tax returns for public officers which have been sitting for at least five years in some cases. It claims, “The blame game between the Belize Tax Services Department and certain Finance Officers in Ministries where Public Officers are negatively affected, need urgent attention with a view [to] ensure Public Officers collect the monies that are due to them. The causes in the delay of processing Income Tax Returns may very well be the result of gross negligence, incompetence, and even corrupt or irregular payroll and hiring practices and must be investigated and corrected. The PSU also demands that all monies due on Income Tax Returns to Public Officers be paid with interest.”

 

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