Central Bank announces Plan to Liquidate four Credit Unions
At the start of April, the Central Bank of Belize announced plans to liquidate four existing credit unions. These are the Police and Civil Service Credit Unions based in Belize City; Citrus Growers and Workers Credit Union in Dangriga and Mount Carmel Credit Union, based in Benque. Mount Carmel is easily the largest and longest-operated of the four. In 2001, Martita Duarte and Julio Santos were accused of embezzling more than five hundred thousand dollars from the institution. They were charged but the prosecution fell through, and nothing was repaid. Mount Carmel suffered further blows including a burglary that netted thieves forty thousand dollars in 2009. Finally, last year, the Belize Credit Union League informed member-owners that it would be closed down. The Development Finance Corporation is claiming a near half-million dollar loan and would be taking over and selling the headquarters of the Union in town. There would be no relief for member-owners, whose assets simply disappear. Governor of the Bank Joy Grant, who is officially also registrar of credit unions in the aftermath of the 2001 Mount Carmel embezzlement when power over management of credit unions was handed to the Bank, is yet to respond to our questions on the liquidation of the Credit Unions.