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Jul 1, 2015

Senators Rumble over Supplemental Appropriations

On Friday, the House meeting was abbreviated when the Opposition walked out of the House in protest, so the first actual debate on Petrocaribe occurred today in the Senate. The session included discussion on supplementary appropriations for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, as well as the amended Petrocaribe Bill. It was a lengthy exercise with input from all Senators present, including a brand new addition – the N.T.U.C.B.’s first Vice-President, Adelaida Guerra, who replaces Senator Ray Davis. She was sworn in just after ten this morning, after which the debate was on, starting with the first of two supplementary allocations.


Adelaida Guerra

Adelaida Guerra, Senator, Unions

“I, Adelaida Guerra, do swear that I will bare true faith and allegiance to Belize and will uphold the constitution and the law and that I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of ability discharge my duties as senator and do right to all manner of people without fear and favour, affection or ill-will so help me God.”


Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“Mr. President, I rise to move the second reading of a Bill for an act to appropriate further sums of money for the use of the public service of Belize for the financial year, ending on the thirty-first day of March, 2015.”


Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Sector

“At no time does our law encourage this barrage of supplementary spending. One is only led then to surmise that such spending is suggestive of seriously flawed planning. Hopefully, Mister President, such spending is not sinister as has been suggested my many. Mister President, did this spending contribute to growing our economy in order that we have the capacity today to pay back these loans? How did this spending affect our social and economic landscape? How has it helped to create lasting and sustainable employment? We have eight thousand young adults coming out of school every year. How does has this helped them to have lasting sustainable employment? How has this improved the housing in this country? How has it helped us to lower crime? How has it helped us to lower poverty?”


Marconi Sosa

Marconi Sosa, U.D.P. Senator

“I don’t expect the Opposition members to endorse and shake hands with us. I do expect the social partners to be fair. Why do I say fair? I say fair because A-while your contribution to the debate is done, there has to be some form of remarks in respect to some of the projects, the good deeds, the good benefits that the people of Belize have received from the expenditures now being asked to be approved retrospectively. If you cannot do that, you are being unfair.”


Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, P.U.P. Senator

“What this appropriation supplementary bill number two has highlighted and it has shown is that this government—rather than working within what the framers of our constitution had contemplated—seem to be overspending and spending and then after the fact, come to the national assembly and seek approval and authorization. And again, the point has to be made that it is not their money; it is the people’s money.”


Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse

“It is wrong and inaccurate to pretend that in fact the figures are cooked. Government officers do these figures; the financial secretary is responsible. People in the Ministry of Finance, people in the various departments—finance officers, etc.—and I take umbrage at the fact that those persons who are not here are being accused of cooking the figures. I am here to tell you that the cabinet does not dictate you adjust this figure and adjust that figure. I can tell you that there was a time when I attended a meeting when a certain minister—long before our time—did not agree with the report coming out of the Statistical Institute of Belize and said that can’t be wrong; it must be more than that. That doesn’t happen in the cabinet of Belize that I sit.”


Lisa Shoman, P.U.P. Senator

“I will not be asked to give my advice or consent or authority to seven or eight lines on a piece of paper which says that monies should be spent and has a little bullet at the bottom that says, source of funds – proceeds from Petrocaribe. I don’t even know what that bullet is doing there; except maybe to shoot wi ina wi head because dah we wah have to pay for this. I don’t have the words to describe how angry it makes me that there are people in this country who get up and noh have enough to feed dehn children; have to di eat ramen; have to the eat Vienne sausage…imperilling their health and we are wasting money and taking this chamber for a joke in asking that we approve spending that has already occurred.”

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