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Dec 16, 2016

Senators debate the bill for B.I.L.

Valerie Woods

During Thursday’s meeting, the Opposition People’s United Party questioned additional government spending for work by Belize Infrastructure Limited, the special purpose vehicle designed by Government to spend Petrocaribe monies on sports and other infrastructural projects countrywide. Of the fourteen point three million dollars spent in the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, approximately seven million is for BIL projects, most notably the Belize City Center. Opposition Senators Valerie Woods and Paul Thompson were not convinced that BIL had provided value for money, with Thompson stating that general manager, Christy Mastry, has abandoned the input of the people who will eventually use the edifices.

 

Valerie Woods, P.U.P. Senator

“On the matter of BIL, my very brief comment is that we were here not so long ago on supplementary bill for BIL. I joined all colleagues on both sides of this chamber who are asking for more information. Yes, we know that we cannot stop money bills, but we should not, especially in a week following the signing of UNCAC just accept these types of bills where the overruns are as grossly increased. We have absolutely no knowledge of where these expenses are; to suggest looking at a field there or a field down south is simply not enough when we’re millions of dollars of overruns.”

 

Paul Thompson, P.U.P. Senator

Paul Thompson

“She doesn’t need to listen to the sports experts or the end-users. All of a sudden now this person, she knows everything; but we know that nobody knows everything, Mr. President. You can just ask the people of San Ignacio about the Falcon Field. So please, Mr. President, please tell those people from BIL that we need the detailed breakdown of how this money was spent. Which projects are included in this seven million? Who are the contractors? If you want us to assess if we are getting value for money, and we don’t know how it’s spent, that is impossible. So, Mr. President, to ask for this supplementary without these requisite details is unacceptable.”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“In terms of the contracts, the contractor general approves those and that piece of information is available. I hear this cry but I’m wondering what it is that is requested in terms of your seven million. I said already, it is the ongoing construction of the Civic Center, it is the San Ignacio and the Dangriga Stadiums contracts which are clearly available from the contractor general and other areas.”

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