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Labour and Rural Transformation Minister Oscar Requeña: “Our mission is to build resilient communities”

Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2023. 9:45 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Rural Transformation, Labour, Local Government, and Community Development Oscar Requeña hailed the increase in recurrent expenditure for his ministry, which rose from $11,136,182 to $12,140,315 projected, as well as in capital expenditure.

Those funds, he said, would support the stated mission of the Ministry “to build resilient communities in Belize through improved local governance, labour administration and sustainable community development.”

A priority for the Ministry is ensuring access to clean, safe, and potable water, especially in rural areas, no matter the time of day. Requeña said a total of 675 thousand dollars was disbursed to 66 village councils in 2022 for their financial support, in order to conduct small projects in their communities. Village water boards turned a cumulative surplus of $633,154.80 for the first time, a sign that the training and motivation of those in charge is working – the cumulative electricity bull to Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has also been significantly reduced.

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Village infrastructure, especially in Requeña’s native Toledo and in Corozal, has been improved. In the municipalities, San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village Council have seen new financial management software installed and training to local government staff in several Town Councils and conducted training in management of liquor license regulation, ahead of planned revisions of that legislation due this year.

In the labour field, the Ministry concentrates on enforcing labour laws and settling disputes and advising himself as Minister on labour matters and developing policy. The key achievement in this area has been the lifting of the minimum wage for manual workers and shop assistants among others, and digitized the labour complaint system, making it easier to file and track the handling of such complaints. Belize is also on track to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and revived the Labour Complaints Tribunal, which delivered two judgments and has been actively receiving complaints – 65 of them.

 

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