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Oct 30, 2014

P.M. Barrow on Petrocaribe Lawsuit

Dean Barrow

Of course, there is the matter of the claim which has been filed by Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Julius Espat. In addition to seeking declarations the money was obtained unlawfully and thus is being used unlawfully, Espat is also seeking an injunction restraining the P.M. from spending the monies until he is given authority by an act of the National Assembly. Espat has sought legal advice from and assembled a formidable legal team, but Barrow is not fazed in the slightest, at least not outwardly. He says he’s looking forward to the issue being ventilated because the Opposition certainly won’t enjoy it.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“When they got other monies from Venezuela—such as the twenty million we had to call back through the Central Bank, such as the other twenty million from Taiwan—they paid that over to the Belize Bank without bringing the money into to consolidated revenue fund, without accounting in any way to the Belizean people for those funds; without even disclosing that they had received those funds. For people with that kind of a track record to come now and to try play spoiler with a program that we were able to restart because of our ability to negotiate with the main importers—you’ve covered this to some extent—to come now and to try to play spoiler. I understand the need for political opportunity, but I really think this is an anti-people move. It is not just those that are being employed, it is not just those that are receiving the social assistance. When you look at the economy and how it is moving, when you look at construction; it is also the business people that are benefiting so greatly from all the spending that is being done on material. So really I want to repeat that this is an utterly misguided and—to use my friend, the whip, honourable Finnegan’s term—pernicious exercise on the part of the Belizean people and they cannot win this either in court or in the public domain.”

 

According to Financial Secretary Joe Waight, a little over sixty million of the Petrocaribe money has been spent of the two hundred and forty million dollars in the coffers.

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