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Aug 23, 2017

Government Says Due Diligence Was Done and the Rest is Politics

Michael Peyrefitte

The Government side was hard-put to defend the bill, with Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte accusing the opposition of playing politics with the issue. Dr. Carla Barnett pointed out that Government has issued no guarantee for the project and is not otherwise involved beyond the legislation. It had already done the kind of inspection necessary to support the loan with the National Bank and found a healthy and well-managed council. With the swing vote of Senator Ashley Rocke, who signaled in his statement that he would support the bill, the Government prevailed in the division on the second reading.

 

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“I get real worried when somebody comes to me and says, ‘Mike, I don’t mean to insult you, but…” because ten times out of ten, it leads to them insulting you. ‘I don’t mean to dump on the bill, how can we not support autonomy for local government’ – and then proceed to make every argument why we shouldn’t pass the bill today. Another one is, ‘Let’s not play politics, let’s not go there, Senator Coy’ – as what Senator Woods just told Senator Coy – but then, Senator Woods, you proceed to talk about politics and the Minister and the Minister’s brother and all sorts of things. I wonder, though, what is the issue that the P.U.P. have with Santa Elena and San Ignacio? What’s the issue? Even if a bill is crafted to solve a mischief in a particular municipality – and that is not the sole reason for this bill – what’s wrong with Santa Elena and San Ignacio finishing a project that they started?  What’s wrong with that?”

 

Carla Barnett

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Senator

“When the discussion started, the staff of the National Bank set out to do the normal due diligence process that banks go through to determine whether a loan is feasible. And so we dispatched a team to work with the team in the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council, to determine, importantly, whether they were managing their business well, whether they were being audited, whether they had the capacity to borrow and that the end of that we realized that the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council was well managed relative to some of the other town councils in the country. We noted, for example, that their tax revenues were increasing; we noted as well that their arrears of tax was being collected quite significantly, and they had several programs to accelerate those connections. We noted that they had their audit up to date – at that time when the conversation started, the last fiscal year had ended, 2016, and they had their audit up to that time. And we noted as well that with their plan to use the sale from the building as the nest egg so to speak for the construction of the new building, that they would be in a position to be reasonably liquid. But as the conversation evolved, it was clear that they did not want to use all of that fund to go into the building, and hence we entered – and this ‘we’ is the National Bank team – entered into conversation with the Town Council about the scope and possibilities for a loan.”

 

Dr. Barnett noted that other town councils have borrowed in the past but it is, until the passage of this law, against the existing law.

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2 Responses for “Government Says Due Diligence Was Done and the Rest is Politics”

  1. carlos says:

    It seems that the Attorney Gen can not even debate a bill sensibly. What a shame of Belize. Instead of giving reasons why the bill should pass and what the people will benefit, he goes to attack the senators. Come on all of you , we assume, all of you are educated. We, the people, want to hear the cons and the pros about this bill. Of course every one wants more autonomy for the local governments but the way and the time you are doing this is the problem. Every one can see that this is lone politics due to municipal election next year..

  2. carlos says:

    We need to be careful with future loans that town councils will make. They will be tempted to barrow from the bank to use in their political campaign. If they loss the election they will saddle the future council. Opposition parties you need to educate voters about this tactic of the government.

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