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Feb 24, 2015

Fin Sec Says Report is the Real Deal

A report allegedly commissioned by Prime Minister Dean Barrow in 2014 has been making waves in the media. It’s a white paper type document on cost-cutting measures in government, and highlights areas which are regarded as wastage of public monies. It was done by a committee of seven persons headed by Francisco Zuniga. One area which has drawn significant scrutiny is advertising. The document claims that WAVE, owned and operated by the United Democratic Party, received more than half-a million dollars from government for advertising. In the past week, G.O.B. and U.D.P. have gone on a propaganda rampage, claiming that the report is bogus, and so are the figures. Today News Five asked Financial Secretary Joe Waight if the report is real.

 

Joseph Waight

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“Yes and yes and yes…two committees were established as offshoots of the joint negotiating process with the unions. One was revenue enhancement, the other was cost savings. Both of them had the sanction of the Government of Belize, both have been produced, submitted to us and we are looking at them. So they have status and standing and they’re being taken very seriously.”

 

Reporter

“In terms of the figures that have been put out there is one that has caught the scrutiny of the media in terms of advertisements, which was a part of that report. There is one figure which says that WAVE in particular received over five hundred thousand dollars in 2013 for advertisement. Are you aware of that?”

 

Joseph Waight

“Yes that was in the report and as far as I know it is accurate.  I’ve asked them to bring the copies of the Smartstream invoices, but I was told by my people that the numbers are real.”

 

While that was the story in the morning, by early afternoon, we received some clarification from the Ministry of Finance. It appears that the half a million dollars for WAVE was for three years, and not one, according to a government release. Waight confirmed that for the year in question, which is 2013, WAVE received two hundred and four thousand dollars for advertising. 

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