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Aug 18, 2017

Twin Towns and Other Municipalities Get Power to Borrow

Dean Barrow

In our last story from the House, the sole bill introduced today to go through all its stages was an amendment to the Town Councils Act which purports to give greater autonomy to the municipal bodies for raising funds for capital projects. It directly benefits the United Democratic Party-controlled San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council, which is in the process of getting its new town hall after demolishing the older one earlier this year. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow says even the P.U.P.-controlled Orange Walk Town Council will benefit despite not getting much help from the central government.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It confers greater autonomy on all the town councils; as the law now stands, the two city councils are able to do what we are saying all town councils should be able to do. This is a blow for equality, it is a blow for greater autonomy, it is a blow for capacity building. So I don’t know how given all three of those considerations, the Leader of the Opposition can have any difficulty. The reason for wanting to pass it all at once today is simple: the san Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council is in the process of constructing a new town hall. I think everybody knows the old place was condemned; and so I think the building has been demolished and the council has sold the property. They’re trying to pay for the construction of the new Town Council out of their funds, out of their revenues, out of the subventions from government but that’s not enough. So they’ve gone to the National Bank of Belize and they are seeking a loan; and the National Bank of Belize as I understand it, has no difficulty in approving, in principle, this loan, but they don’t have the authority to borrow, the permission to borrow, and the matter is urgent because the construction has started. Now there’s bridging money being provided to the contractor, all they want is to very quickly, as soon as this is passed, have the National Bank properly examine their application and hopefully approve the loan request. So again, nothing sinister; I would think everybody and certainly those from the west would be very encouraging of the move of the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council.”

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