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May 15, 2015

PM Says Teachers and Public Servants Are Indeed Benefiting from Petrocaribe

BNTU President Luke Palacio, in an interview with the media last week, said the prime minister attempted to mislead the nation when he stated that teachers and public servants were also beneficiaries of the Petrocaribe rollout.  While Palacio’s comment was made in the context of the much talked about salary adjustment, P.M. Barrow, during a press brief on Thursday, made reference to a dedicated line of credit that was afforded to teachers and public servants through the National Bank of Belize.  According to the P.M., it is a fact that both groups have benefited from the controversial Petrocaribe funds.

 

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“The teachers and public officers benefit directly and indirectly from Petrocaribe.  They benefit directly because as everybody knows there was a line of credit reserved exclusively for teachers and public officers.  I believe it was ten million dollars in the first instance and thereafter they were able to apply like anybody else for the entirety of the equity in the National Bank which I believe now is at forty million dollars.  But in terms of the special line of credit for them they new that the equity was going to be put into the National Bank by the government out of Petrocaribe funds and they agreed.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  You see, the point I’m trying to make is that if we made a mistake in not doing right at the start what we’ve done now by passing this act, if we made a mistake by not taking the arrangements to the House until Mr. Big Mouth here got in the middle of things.  I’m kidding.  What I am saying is that everybody made that mistake, nobody at the time thought that it was required.  I explained why I was of the view that it wasn’t required and when Jules put it to me I said, “You know, I don’t think this is a loan properly so called but let’s not quibble.  Let’s not argue.  You may be right so let’s go to the House and then I attempted to do that.  So when I say to Mr. Palacio that teachers and public officers benefit, I’m not throwing it in his face.  I am merely stating a fact in order to underline my point that if some procedural mistakes were made at the beginning there was no malice, there was no intent and we have now been able to sort that out.”

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