Belize City: Thursday, February 7, 2019
The news that two persons considered very senior in the Union movement, Jackie Willoughby of the NTUCB, formerly the President, and Sharon Frazer of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), have been gifted with $40,000 each from government coffers has been a source of widespread outrage in union circles.
Just this week, the Belize Times managed to obtain copies of letters which showed that both Willoughby and Frazer were given $40,000 each from Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber’s Ministry of Education, to go pursue Master’s Degrees in Italy, of all places.
According to the letters, both dated January 11, 2019, approximately half the money will be sent to the University, while the other half will be given to them personally to deal with travel and living expenses while in Italy.
This is the typical modus operandi of a worthless United Democratic Party under the leadership of lame duck Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Belizeans will remember that leading up to 2008, it was widely believed that Dean Barrow, desperate for power, promised certain favours to certain union leaders and their family members to ensure their support.
When the BNTU stood strong and went on strike in 2016 to demand good governance and an end to corruption from the Barrow administration, the NTUCB and the APSSM were noticeably silent. In fact, it is believed that the lack of support from these unions were what caused the BNTU to finally fold after 11 days. To see Frazer of the APSSM and Willoughby of the NTUCB now benefitting from $80,000 from Education coffers to go to Italy is enough to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of Belizeans.
This is a shame and a disgrace on another level completely. Both Frazer and Willoughby are very successful public officers. Frazer was recently appointed Chief Magistrate, while Willoughby works out of the DPP’s Office as a Crown Counsel and also practices law on the side. Both could certainly afford to pay for their studies if they wanted to do so. So it is a travesty that taxpayers must now bear this burden.
Every year we see the brightest Belizean children dropping out of school because their parents cannot afford the high cost of education. Every year we hear heart-breaking stories of children and youth who are forced to give up their dreams, because they have no access to the opportunities they deserve. And here you have Willoughby and Frazer who can afford to get their Master’s Degrees if that is what they want to do – yet, they are taking the bread out of the mouths of those who need the opportunity much more.
This UDP is a worthless, shameful and disgraceful administration. Cronies and lackeys continue to benefit while the really deserving Belizeans are left by the wayside. But there is hope coming. Very soon, in a matter of months, the UDP will feel the bukut of the Belizean people, just as they have given the people the bukut for more than ten years. And all eyes will then be on those who have gotten rich off the UDP, and rich off the public purse. Let those who have ears to hear, heed this message.