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Prime Minister says Government “can’t touch” Public Sector Workers’ Trust while in court as retired public officers demonstrate again on first day of Budget Debate

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2024. 2:33 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Association of Beneficiaries and Retired Public Officers (ABRPO) has mobilized its members for a brief protest in Belmopan today to express disappointment and dissatisfaction with the Government’s failure to honor its pledge made in December 2022 to wind down the Public Sector Workers’ Trust (PSWT) established in 2014.

As he did last year, Prime Minister John Briceño briefly came out to address the approximately 100 demonstrators in front of the National Assembly building.

The P.M. reiterated that the Government is still behind the ABRPO on the issue, but at the moment it is a matter for the courts: “We support the winding down, or shutting down, of this Trust. The problem that we have right now it is that [it] is in the courts, so the people that are suing – if they can withdraw the case…whosoever it is, if these people could withdraw the case, then we can wind it down, and at the same time I believe we can do any investigation there may be to see if there was any money misspent…It’s in court, so we can’t touch it.”

He further acknowledged the concerns of the retired public officers that they need urgent funds for their medical expenses among others. 

He agreed to meet with a delegation from the ABRPO along with Attorney General Anthony Sylvestre and Minister of the Public Service Henry Charles Usher after the Easter break, tasking leader Hubert Enriquez with coming up with the names delivered by letter and promising, “I will take charge.” He further assured that the shares in Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) remain and only the dividends can be spent.

This answer appeared to mollify the group, which soon after dispersed. We’ll have more from Enriquez on the urgency of this issue in a separate story. 

 

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