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Jan 25, 2018

Can We Believe B.I.L. Figures?

Paul Thompson

Nearly every municipality in Belize now has its own multi-purpose center or sporting complex upgraded or built from the ground up by the special purpose vehicle Belize Infrastructure Limited. The most recent of these is the thirty-four million dollar colossus known as the Belize City Center, which remains shuttered until a management company can be found to take care of it. But the Opposition People’s United Party continues to demand a public accounting of monies spent by B.I.L. The matter came up in Wednesday’s Senate meeting when raised by former B.I.L. board member and basketball enthusiast Paul Thompson.

 

Paul Thompson, P.U.P. Senator

“Mr. President, in 2016, I asked the lead Senator for government business with explanations for expenditures for B.I.L. It’s been two years. We’ve not seen an audited report for B.I.L. any at all. Five years that’s been in existence, and we’ve seen nothing. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on B.I.L. and we know nothing. Let me give you an example: the Prime Minister says that the Civic Center cost thirty-four million dollars; the uber-architect says it costs thirty-four million dollars; inside sources say it costs…”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“Point of order, Mr. President; this is not relevant to the appropriation that we are doing here. Civic Center? What does that have to do with this?”

 

Godwin Hulse

Paul Thompson

“The expenditures from B.I.L., Mr. President, how do we know? We don’t see an audited report; how do we know?”

 

Lee Mark Chang, President of the Senate

“Please stick to the appropriation bill.”

 

Paul Thompson

“I’m sticking to the appropriation bill; sticking to it. Mr. President, how do we know what it costs? And how can we believe what the Prime Minister says or what Ms. [Christy] Mastry says, in this environment of corruption and skullduggery; how can we believe them?”

 

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business

“I hasten to point out that where B.I.L. is concerned, B.I.L. has a board – a board on which the social partners sit; board on which the government cannot dictate anything, so the projects come, the expenditure comes, etcetera, and when that was set up, [the] social partners was put on it to ensure this very thing, that it will not be just under a ministry or under a department, it is a statutory body. And yes, projects will continue and continue and continue.”

 

Mastry has told News Five that a private company was to completed an audit of B.I.L. as of December, 2017.

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