GOB compensates teachers and public officers for 1995 to 1997 increment freeze

FinanceAll public officers, teachers and open vote workers whose increments were frozen during the period 1995 to 1997 may now be entitled to benefits payable to them, even those who have since retired. That is because the Ministry of Finance announced that it has authorized the Accountant General to transfer the balance of some $3.06 million held in a Government Savings Account to the Trustees of the Public Sector Workers’ Trust, which has been established to hold funds in trust for all public officers and teachers whose annual increments were frozen during the period 1st April 1995 to 31st March 1997. It may be recalled that in 1995, the Government of Belize had agreed to give the Public Service Union and the Belize National Teachers Union some 794,732 shares in Belize Telecommunications Limited (now Belize Telemedia Limited) as compensation for the suspension of annual increments of public officers and teachers during the fiscal period 1995 to 1997. These shares continued earning dividends which were kept in a separate Government Savings Account in trust for the affected public officers and teachers. In 2007, the said shares were transferred into the joint names of the Public Service Union and the Belize National Teachers Union, but the dividends earned up to that time continued to be held in the Government Savings Account pending the establishment by the Unions of a Trust for the purpose of funding various projects for the benefit of the affected public officers and teachers and their families. The Unions have now submitted a Trust Deed for the said purpose, which appoints four Trustees, namely, Raymond Davis, Nadia Caliz, Philip Castillo and Enrique Iglesias as representing the Public Service Union, Belize National Teachers Union, Nurses Association of Belize, Belize Defence Force and the Belize Police Association. Approval has been now granted for the control of the said Savings Account to be transferred to the named Trustees. The dividends earned on these shares since 2007 when the shares were transferred to the Unions, have been placed directly in a commercial bank account under the full control of the Unions. It is understood that the dividends earned on the shares during the period 2008 to 2013 amounted to some $2.04 million. With the Trust now established and fully funded, it is expected that the Trust will become operational in the very near future.

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