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Feb 9, 2015

Petrocaribe Case in the Supreme Court

Denys Barrow

Up until a few weeks ago, the seemingly infinite public purse that is the Petrocaribe funds had been used to finance infrastructure projects across the country.  Major road works and other initiatives, including the 2014 Christmas Cheer program and other incentives for the electorate have been financed from a two hundred and forty million dollar loan.  That money is the subject of a lawsuit against Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow filed by PUP Deputy Leader Julius Espat in late-October of last year.  According to Espat, two hundred and twenty-eight million dollars of the said monies was borrowed unlawfully since it never went before the House of Representatives for approval, as per the Finance and Audit Act.  The government subsequently sought House approval to mend the matter but part of the money had been spent.  Attorneys for both Espat and the Government of Belize appeared in the chamber of Justice Courtney Abel today.  While a case remains to be formally prepared, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow told the media this morning that the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, ALBA, has been included in the suit.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government of Belize

“The claimant has made the claim [that] the government, through the financial secretary, has filed an affidavit in response and ALBA, which is the private company that does the importing of the petroleum, has been given permission to file an affidavit, I think in about two weeks time, or something like that.  So the case is not yet fully formulated but it is in the process.”

 

Reporter

“What would ALBA be filing as, an interested party?”

 

Denys Barrow

“No, they are sued because the declaration which has been sought is against Dean Barrow as Minister of Finance, the attorney general, as the representative of the government and ALBA as the company which has made the funds available, the Petrocaribe funds available to the country of Belize.  They are the ones who source the oil, et cetera.”

 

The matter is set to commence on the second and third of June.

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