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Mar 30, 2015

P.U.P. Leader Demands Petrocaribe Accountability

Francis Fonseca

There were two debates held in the House of Representatives last week – one on the 2015-2016 Budget and one on a proposed Petrocaribe Bill. The Bill is a controversial one which will allow government to draw down Petrocaribe monies without taking it to the House, and also to use those monies for any purpose it deems fit. To no one’s surprise it was pushed through all its sessions in the House, but not before a very heated back and forth. Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca threw the first blows.


Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“No one voted them to be gods Mr. Speaker. No one declared them to be the last of the living saints. The people of Belize do not trust them any more than they trust to leave their good clothes on the line in a yard with no fence and no dogs. No matter how cheap the money…no matter who is lending the money. No matter what the money will be used for…the parliament of Belize has to approve these Petrocaribe loans. Those on the other side Mr. Speaker well know this, and that is why they are bringing this Bill to ram down our throats in one House meeting at this late hour. If their motives and intentions were good, were sincere Mr. Speaker…were not so sinister…they would allow for House Committee meetings so that the unions and students and business community and others could weigh in on the issue. We have yet to see any tendering procedures being followed for the contracting of the hundred and twenty-six million dollars of the Petrocaribe funds that the government says they have spent so far. We have not seen any audit, any report on how the thirty million dollars was spent in the National Bank. We have yet to see a report of the tendering procedure used in determining who spent and how they spent eleven million dollars the Prime Minister says he has spent on the Lake Independence Boulevard and the Chetumal Street Bridge. We have yet to see, Mr. Speaker, an audit on the thirteen million the government says they have spent on so-called social support and community assistance. We have yet to see on which property and equipment seven point one million dollars of the Petrocaribe monies were spent, and we have yet to see on which sporting facilities they spent five million dollars, and whether we got value for money. And the list could go on Mr. Speaker. We don’t want a list of things they spent the one twenty-six million dollars on, Mr. Speaker. That simply won’t do.”

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