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Sep 9, 2014

P.U.P. Leader Says Petrocaribe Infrastructure Loan Needs House Approval

Francis Fonseca

Late last month, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was asked about a twenty million dollar loan from Venezuela through the Petrocaribe Initiative which is being used for infrastructural works ongoing nationwide. The loan facility, however, did not go before the National Assembly. On Monday, at a press conference, P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca, said that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has not complied with the Finance and Audit Act.  For context, here are the comments of Prime Minister Barrow followed by those of Fonseca.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: August 29th, 2014]

“The question of whether this is something that needs to go to the national assembly in particular way is an issue to be looked at. Ultimately, I don’t think it much matters except perhaps just to ensure that we are in strict and fateful compliance with our regulatory requirements. The thing is that these monies go into the government’s account at Central Bank and are spent in a way that is extremely transparent with records to in fact account for every last penny of expenditure. More to the point, the people of this country are seeing the effects of the spending, are feeling the benefits of the tremendous infrastructure drive that is being financed by Petrocaribe. So I think we are all good.”

 

Reporter

“But again, rules exist for a reason and the Finance and Audit Act…”

 

Dean Barrow

“Yes man, but that’s a matter of how you interpret the rules. I might interpret them differently, but I am giving you this much. You have raised an issue that I will look at. Perhaps I have simply not paid enough attention to what you would suggest is required in the circumstances to be a scrupulous regard for the letter of the law. I will have a look at it.”

 

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“Well I think there is no gray area about this matter. The prime minister suggested that it was a gray area. As far as I’m aware, these funds do come under the finance and audit act and there is a requirement for these monies to be tabled, disclosed at the national assembly and voted on. That has not happened as yet and we expect that that should happen in the near future.”

 

Reporter

“So would you say the government is faulty on its procedure?”

 

Francis Fonseca

“Absolutely. And I would think that that’s clear. They have admitted that they have not complied with the finance and audit act. The prime minister is suggesting that he is not clear on whether he should, if these monies fall under the finance and audit act. I am saying to you that my understanding is that they do fall under the act and that in fact the government has not been complying with the act.”

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