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Oct 20, 2017

The Vegas entrenched at Social Security?

This week Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Manuel Heredia Junior confirmed that Imer Hernandez won the bid for the Caye Caulker municipal airstrip reconstruction. He noted that there were changes to the bid and according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the contract, for which money is being sought by the Airports Authority but not yet approved by the Social Security Board, is for four million, not seven. But Opposition Leader John Briceño exposed a potential weak link involving, of all people, the Vega family. Leticia Vega, a senior general manager, is Board secretary and married to Omer Vega, a nephew of Gaspar Vega and engineer in Imer Hernandez’s company. Barrow denied that Mrs. Vega held any role in making decisions on funding, but as Briceño pointed out, that would not stop her from having influence.

 

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

John Briceno

“Who gave Imer Hernandez this 7 million dollar contract? The Belize Airports Authority. From where did the Belize Airports Authority get the 7 million dollar loan? It was loan from Belize Social Security; our money, our workers money they borrowed. Who sits on the board of Belize Airports Authority?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Madam speaker, as a point of order that’s not true, you are talking about the Caye Caulker Airstrip? Imer Hernandez built the Barry Bowen Airstrip and indeed that was done by way of an S.S.B. loan. I do understand that there is an application on the part of the Belize Airports Authority in front of the Social Security Board, not for 7 million dollars, it is for 4 million dollars and that hasn’t been decided on. So you are absolutely wrong sir and you should correct your record.”

 

John Briceño

“Then you need to correct your Minister of Tourism because that is what he said on television. Who is Leticia Vega? She is a general manager for services management at the Belize Social Security. Now interestingly, who is Leticia Vega married to? She is married to Omir Vega who is the engineer and I am told a shareholder in Imer Hernandez Company Limited. Better yet who is Omir Vega, Omir Vega is the nephew of the former Deputy Prime Minister the Honorable member from Orange Walk North. And to…as they say “add salt to the wound” hurt you ever more, I know that the same Imer Hernandez Development Company who got the contract to upgrade the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal airstrip. Did Leticia Vega excuse herself when that decision was being made? We don’t know. I am asking the questions.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“On a point of order, on a point of order.”

 

John Briceño

“What is the point of order?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“You are wrong and I believe dishonest to suggest that Leticia Vega has anything to do with Social Security Board decision on Loan Applications, she is the secretary to the board, she is not a voting member of the board, so she plays no role in any decisions. Why are you maligning the lady?

 

John Briceño

“Prime Minster Barrow but you don’t say that she can try to influence people around that board. Please man you think people stupid man, that is your problem!”

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