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Sep 6, 2017

‘No money no deh,’ P.M. tells Senate Committee

The Senate Special Select Committee resumed public hearings this afternoon and we will have details of the testimony of Director of Immigration Diana Locke shortly. But first, the Government of Belize has sent its strongest signal yet that it wants an early end to the Committee’s deliberations, targeting their finances. In a letter dated August third to National Assembly Clerk Eddie Webster from Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, the P.M. indicates that after two supplementary allocations amounting to one hundred and sixty-five thousand, five hundred and fifty-two dollars, no further allocations will be approved for the Committee. The allocations are for one hundred and twenty-four thousand, two hundred and two dollars for upcoming sittings and forty-one thousand, three hundred and fifty dollars for prior bills. The allocations will only take hearings through the month of November. The Prime Minister writes that the Committee’s expenses before the letters sent to him in July ran up to one hundred and forty-six thousand dollars over eight months, or about eighteen-thousand a month. P.M. Barrow claims that G.O.B. is extremely hard-pressed to find extra-budgetary allocations to deal with the newly reconstituted Integrity Commission and implementation of UNCAC.   The Committee has called upwards of twenty witnesses and plans to call several more including Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse, as well as recall some witnesses including Auditor General Dorothy Bradley. However, some members, including Chairman Aldo Salazar who have indicated that they wish to proceed to writing their report, have already reached some conclusions. We will keep a close eye on these developments.

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