University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association calls for change

vlcsnap-2013-02-14-19h06m59s224“Vote of No Confidence in the UB Board of Trustees!” – That was the tune of today’s demonstration at the University of Belize. The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association came out with placards and force, calling for the resignation of the current UB Board of Trustees. Among the topics addressed at the demonstration is the UB payroll audit report that they claim contains financial and managerial irregularities. But according to Allision Crawford, the President of UBFSA, this matter could have been dealt with a long time ago, but because their written concerns were ignored, they had to demonstrate today.

Allision Crawford – President of UBFSA
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-19h08m48s43This is my placard.  I’ve dealt it internally at the Board level, or at the Ministerial level with the Minister of Education and the Prime Minister, because we wrote them first, and we have not received any reply, which is a total disrespect for the Faculty and Staff of this National University of Belize.
The main issue that we have with the Board at this time is a Payroll Audit Report, that the President of the University had commissioned, and was carried out by Castillo & Burrell. That report shows some financial and Managerial irregularities,  If that Audit was not carried out, we would never have known of the occurrences.

While an investigation of the CSB payroll audit is ongoing, the association says that the same board members who are in the audit, are the ones conducting the investigation. This they say, it not acceptable.

Allision Crawford – President of UBFSA
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-19h10m17s180The Board have now said there’s a draft, and it’s not completed as yet. But the report that came put to us had nothing marked to say confidential or it was at the draft stage.  So we, UBFSA, is not satisfied with that explanation. The Board have decided that the Admin Sub-committee of the Board will deal with thew investigation.  The same Board Members that we felt was in the Audit is on that Admin Committee, which I express at the Board level is totally unethical, total conflict of interest.

The association isn’t just calling for the resignation of the board, they are also requesting that the UB Act be amended.

Allision Crawford – President of UBFSA
We don’t have confidence in the present Board, and we know from the past, one of the main things most of the Boards, or all of the Boards, have been political.  Because it’s usually the Minister of Education in charge, and we feel that the Borads tend to be very political, which seem to affect the stability of this University.  So one of the key things is a change in the UB Act. The UB Act needs to be adjusted.  There’s not even a Member of the Opposition on our Board.  So we need a totally new arrangement of delegated on the Board.  So that’s why this is to appeal to him to please respond to us.  I think what we are asking for is very simple, an Independent Commission, so that we can get an unbiased and fair investigation of the Audit report.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Pott, a member of the school’s faculty had some encouraging words to his colleagues.

Leonardo Pott – UB Faculty
vlcsnap-2013-02-14-19h10m45s193I want to encourage everybody to play an active roll in your organization.  Your organization is here for us.  Your organization is a safeguard for this national university.  Nobody can come to this University and do what they want.  I’ve always told my colleagues, students come and go. Administrators, we have seen over the years, come and go.  The Faculty and Staff, we are the backbone to this national university. We have power within ourselves in order to make the change that we need at this University.

And in case you’re wondering what the Board of Directors has to say to all this, well, they issued a statement about the matter this evening. The statement reads, “The Board of Directors of the University of Belize advises that they intend to respond to all the allegations and claims being made against the Board of Trustees.”  So what is their response? Well, the release goes on to say, “We will not be hasty in our response to these very spurious and defamatory allegations as we need to follow due process.”  They say they have been consulting on how they will respond to these issues; they assure the public however, that we will be hearing in full from the Board.

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