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Dec 4, 2017

UHS and the P.U.P.’s Internal Turmoil

The unpaid UHS debt continues in the news following the announcement that parliament is not likely to vote to pay the loan note that goes back to 2004 and was originally for thirty-three point five million dollars.  John Briceño was Deputy Prime Minister when the UHS loan came to light; he says that his party faced inner turmoil in the wake of the scandal.  Several ministers of government were fired from cabinet and Briceño subsequently resigned in 2007.  As party leader, Briceño today provided a brief historical context of events at the time to explain that his position has not changed on the UHS matter. But he says that the business community has now come down hard on Prime Minister Barrow because he has embarked upon a pointless competition that he continues to lose.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“I think that we, in our party, in the P.U.P., we have gone through our upheaval over this matter, over the UHS.  Several of us lost our jobs because of our opposition to the UHS.  You had at that time Minister Espat and Minister Hyde, both of them lost their jobs because of their stance on the UHS.  I lost, well in effect I resigned, some say I was fired but whichever way, I left the cabinet because I believe that it wasn’t something that the government should have done.  And even Minister Courtenay who was the foreign minister, he was fired when, I shouldn’t be laughing, but he was fired when he was in Panama representing us over the UHS.  So we’ve had our internal discourse or our internal fight over this matter.  The Belizean people have ruled on this matter in 2008, in 2012, in 2015.  But I also like to point out that irrespective of how you feel about the settlement, the then prime minister managed to find a settlement.  Either you think it was bad or it was good or wrong or whatever it is, you like it or you dislike it, he found a settlement and we managed to deal with that matter.  Now here comes now, this prime minister, because as I’ve been saying, he in his arrogance, in his spitefulness, in his bad mindedness, he decided that he is going to break it and he is going on a pissing contest.  A pissing contest that now ih di try tell di Belizean people that that da rain pan we back.  And because of that, now we are faced with a bill for ninety dollars because of the interest.  This is not the first time the prime minister has done this to us and the Belize Chamber of Commerce was so harsh on him, saying that he is gambling with our money, legal gambling, by going to court over everything.  And the sad part about it is that all ah di fight ih di tek ih di lose pan all ah them.  He loses all of them.”

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