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National Trade Union Congress of Belize writes to Prime Minister regarding concerns over appointment process at Social Security Board

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2024. 5:04 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) has voiced its dissatisfaction with the recent decision made by the Board of Directors of the Social Security Board (SSB) regarding appointments to the Public Administration Campus (SPV) Limited.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister John Briceño, the NTUCB expressed concerns over what it perceives as a lack of transparency and fairness in the appointment process.

“NTUCB is not in agreement with your understanding since we believe that the Board’s decision was prejudiced by the Chairperson’s recommendation of members from outside of the SSB Board. The fact that the Chairperson recommended members from outside of the SSB Board and presented the names before the decision was even put to a vote led to the three motions being considered, which ultimately resulted in the majority of the Board voting in favour of the third motion,” the NTUCB stated.

The dispute stems from the composition of the SPV Board, with the NTUCB advocating for a tripartite structure similar to that of the SSB and the Investment Committee.

The NTUCB alleges that the decision-making process was prejudiced by the Chairperson’s recommendation of members from outside the SSB Board, leading to the majority of the Board voting in favor of appointing external candidates.

In their letter, the NTUCB emphasized their commitment to revising and updating the Social Security Act to address perceived gaps in governance and decision-making processes.

They cited the 2021 Good Governance Motion, highlighting the government’s pledge to uphold transparency and accountability in public affairs.

“We reiterate our stance that the SPV Board should maintain a tripartite structure, just like the Social Security Board and the Investment Committee. This has become a requirement for Social Security Boards within the Caribbean jurisdiction which impacts the decision-making process.

We understand your point that the structure of the Social Security Board itself requires that it be tripartite in nature, but we strongly believe that this principle should be applied to all entities, including the SPV Board. We cannot agree that the Board has a fiduciary duty to appoint persons with expertise, credibility, and integrity without considering the need for a tripartite structure,” the NTUCB reiterated.

The NTUCB further added that they are recommending a Tripartite Representation.

“We strongly suggest that the Board of Directors of the SPV Limited includes 3 reps from the Government of Belize (GOB), 3 reps from the Social Security Board (SSB), 1 rep from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), 1 rep from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), and 1 rep from the Belize Business Bureau (BBB). This would ensure that the board is representative of all stakeholders and would provide a balanced perspective,” the NTUCB stated.

The NTUCB expressed willingness to engage in further discussions and negotiations to reach a mutually beneficial solution.

They called on Prime Minister Briceño to reconsider the Board’s decision and take their concerns into account.

 

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