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Feb 6, 2018

Why Do We Have to Pay so Much for UHS?

The scandal that is the forty-million-dollar loan to the former Universal Health Services, compounded with interest of more than fifty million dollars, continues to reverberate in the public consciousness. The government is making a last-ditch effort to stave off potential payment by taking a pair of arguments to the Caribbean Court of Justice which ordered the Belize Bank Limited to pursue the judgment debt in a ruling made last November.  But come what may, says Belize Progressive Party leader Patrick Rogers, it must be paid, and it could and should have been so much less.

 

Patrick Rogers

Patrick Rogers, Political Leader, B.P.P.

“It has to be paid. It has to be paid, Belize; dah noh if it will be paid; it has to be paid. If we do not live under the rule of law, we are living lawlessly – and yes, we know we are living lawlessly because we have said we are living in tyranny. But Dean Barrow is playing politics at the expense of this nation’s coffers. The fact that you kicked the can down the road noh mean that you mek the pan disappear, it just gone down the road, so some future government will have to hold that. Now when you take and pay that, the amount you would have been paying would have gone up again. Belize, as an accountant I can tell you, interest expense dah di biggest waste of money. The biggest waste of money is to see a line item expense called interest: interest means that the bankers win again. Now a bank is not concerned that you pay them back their principal; paying back their principal is neither here nor there. Pay them their interest every month, and they’re okay. So if Mr. Ashcroft will get seventeen percent compounded monthly on the annual rate, what other portfolio [does] he have that weh di return dat? So it is in his interest to sit there, let Mr. Barrow’s time come and go, and then some future government that knows they have to pay that thing will end up paying; but a big, significant amount of interest would have been added to it again, and that is my problem, that we spent so [much] money on interest. Yes, lawyer’s fees and all of that, but the biggest waste is interest expense.”

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