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Dec 8, 2017

Taiwan Comes Through Again – US $40 Million over 4Years

The eagerly-awaited motion on Universal Health Services was not tabled today, but another money-related motion was. A forty-million U.S. dollar motion for a loan from the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was tabled in the House. The loan is to be disbursed in four equal annual instalments between 2017 and 2020, while its term is for twenty years less grace period of three years to be repaid later on. Responding to what he called misinformation in the public arena, Prime Minister Dean Barrow reiterated the strength of the bond between Taiwan and Belize and refuted a tongue-in-cheek suggestion by Opposition Leader John Briceño that the new program starts right before municipal elections.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This is simply another installment in the continuing economic cooperation program with Taiwan. Their loan and grant program is done in cycles of four years; the last four-year program has come to an end; this is the new four-year program. Unfortunately, there is nothing additional in the proposed disbursements, the proposed mix of loans and grants. But just to be clear that it is what happens every four years Republic of China (Taiwan).”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“Certainly, we wouldn’t have any problem with any country assisting and helping, and as the Prime Minister mentioned this is just a continuation of the economic program with Taiwan. But the only concern or what calls my attention: it seems that whenever we have elections that when Taiwan is lending this government some money, just before the election. And I just wonder if this is not going to be called what we would call election-time money, but as I said forty million is forty million U.S. and we are not necessarily object[ing] to the loan.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The question of the timing, the cycle of the disbursements – that’s a matter of coincidence, and it’s part of a rhythm that has been set long ago. The one thing you should have remarked upon is the fact that this comes to the House so that you and your colleagues can know about it and say what you have to say (Applause), unlike the twenty million dollars that you got from Taiwan, supposedly to help with national health care, which you turned around and gave to U.H.S.”

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