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May 27, 2015

N.T.U.C.B. Meets With PM Barrow on Proposed Amendments to Petrocaribe Law

Marvin Mora

Representatives of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize met in extended session this afternoon with Prime Minister Dean Barrow to discuss proposed amendments to the Petrocaribe Loans Act.  The atmosphere, according to President Marvin Mora, was conducive to a meaningful discussion on suggested changes that will be brought before the House of Representatives on June twenty-sixth.  Since the passage of the bill earlier this year, the Barrow administration has come under intense scrutiny from a number of entities, including the opposition, the N.T.U.C.B., as well as the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  Upon the prime minister’s request, a meeting was held to examine the amendments closely, but not before he explained the rationale behind the controversial passage of the bill.  According to Mora, P.M. Barrow has taken into careful consideration the unions’ position, as well as their collective recommendations.

 

Marvin Mora, President, N.T.U.C.B.

“The productivity of the meeting cannot only be measured on a go forward basis.  Actually, not only the productivity of the meeting but actually the efforts of the trade unions in taking a stance against what were the actions taken by the government in the first instance with the act going through the house and in a sense circumventing the Finance and Audit Reform Act.  What I can tell you is [that] the amendment itself that the government is proposing is addressing some of the major issues that, in hindsight, probably could have been addressed by the government then if they have done consultations.  As a matter of fact, one of the things that the prime minister conceded is that he could have and probably he should have but in his wisdom as a leader sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns and make certain decisions.  Mind you, his, or I would say his reasoning for so doing was basically to safeguard the program, according to what he explained to us in there.  So one of the things that we are looking at is the fact of the [retrospection] of the changes but we are also looking at where we are and where we want to go.  If you realize, the N.T.U.C.B. has never been against the Petrocaribe [Fund] and if that was out there we have always clarified that.  We have always, even in programs that we have been invited to we’ve always made our position clear, we’re not against the Petrocaribe Fund, we’re against the bill and how it basically circumvents some of the accountability and transparency measures that are within the Finance and Audit Reform Act.  So in essence the meeting that we had today; one, was to clarify government’s position.  Two, was to address the concerns that the trade unions had in regards to accountability and transparency and many things were made clear in there.  And, of course, the amendments themselves proved to be a fact that the government can listen and is willing to listen when there is public pressure, especially coming from the trade unions.”

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1 Response for “N.T.U.C.B. Meets With PM Barrow on Proposed Amendments to Petrocaribe Law”

  1. Ali BaBarrow says:

    Obey Ali, and pay your tribute on time.

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