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Feb 11, 2016

The P.U.P. Says S.S.B. Should Have Sought Special Protection

The People’s United Party today issued a press release on the S.S.B. twelve million dollar loan to the Santander Group. In the release, the Party states that one pressing question is why the people’s money is being sought by the company, instead of it going to the commercial banks. Four banks in Belize have already invested fifty-four million US to the project, but the release states definitively that, “the Santander Group is either strong enough to borrow an additional twelve million dollars from commercial banks or it is not. If it is not, then the S.S.B. should not be making this loan.” Today, P.U.P. leader John Briceño told News Five that he felt it critical for the P.U.P. to take a position on the decision which has resulted in so much consternation and concern.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“The main concern is how secure is the money. I was just informed that under the loan it is a whole…it is a syndicated loan so you have different banks and different groups putting together this monies for Green Tropics. There is no special arrangement for Social Security, called pari-passu, meaning that everybody is on equal footing, so God forbid if something were to go wrong with the sugar mill, with the Santander Group and they go bankrupt, Social Security would have to get into line just like the other banks to be able to collect their monies. I would have expected that the Social Security Board would at the very least if they are to lend this money…I would have expected them to demand a special protection for the workers of this country because the twelve million dollars does not belong to the Board members…that twelve million dollars belongs to all of us that pay Social Security every month.”

 

Mike Rudon

“One of the criticisms has been that this is Belizean contributors’ money being loaned to a company in which the principals are Guatemalans. Does the P.U.P. share that concern?”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño

“Well certainly it concerns us that here we are making this loan to a Guatemalan group, but it’s not so much that it’s a Guatemalan group but it’s also a group of foreigners, or foreign investors. If you remember in 2010, 2011 when B.S.I. was going through its crisis the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association was putting together a package on how the cane-farmers could have taken over B.S.I., bought over the shares from B.S.I., and one of the things they were requesting from the Government of Belize was their participation, that they could make some seed money available to the cane-farmers as a loan so that the farmers could have taken over B.S.I.. The Government refused. I find it distasteful that the Government has refused to help the Belizean cane-farmers in the north, yet here we have a foreign company that the Government has given the green light to the social Security Board to lend them twelve million dollars.”

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