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Keep politics out of Public Service, says PSU ahead of elections

Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2024. 2:28 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: An internal circular of the Public Service Union of Belize (PSU) reminds members and public officers generally that they are prohibited by regulation from actively participating in political campaigns.

But there is documented evidence that public officers at all levels are engaged in activities of a party-political nature.

Regulation 60 of the Belize Constitution (Public Services) Regulations, 2014 prohibits the active participation of public officers on behalf of any political party or candidate in any elections held under the Representation of the People Act (i.e. a general election), the various municipal councils, or a referendum. This includes being a candidate unless they resign from the service, or being appointed to an office in a political party; giving partisan speeches; assisting in election campaigns; writing to the press on political matters while indicating party bias; distributing political literature; showing favour to members of a party while dealing with public business; soliciting funds for candidates or political parties, or other such actions.

The PSU argues that such activities under the previous administration resulted in “corrupt employment practices, the deterioration of quality public service, the politicization of the public service and the degradation of the Public Services Commission” and claims things have not much changed.

“Politicization of the public service and political victimization of public officers needs to stop, as these practices negatively impact the quality of service given to the general public. This is a reminder of the urgent need for constitutional reform in both the composition and manner of appointment of members to all the so-called independent Commissions within the Public Service,” the PSU adds.

One way public officer can participate in elections is by managing them as clerks, returning officers and so on, and the Union recognizes and thanks those who have agreed to participate in 2024 municipal elections in this manner.


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