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Mar 23, 2018

Eamon, Said Called Out for “Conflict of Interest” over U.H.S.

Wilfred Elrington

It hasn’t come up much during the Budget debate, but the House still has to contend with the repayment of the thirty-six million loan to Belize Bank, guaranteed by Government, for Universal Health Services. While no decision has been taken apart from the Supplementary bill presented in January while the matter is before the Caribbean Court of Justice, Pickstock area representative Wilfred Elrington re-opened old wounds when he charged that former Prime Minister Said Musa, as detailed in his later book, authorized and implemented the scheme to apparently bypass the National Assembly and set the course to where the matter is now, all the while facing great internal opposition. He also took a shot at rival Senator Eamon Courtenay, whom he portrayed as a willing tool of the U.D.P.’s opponents.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Area Rep., Pickstock

“This U.H.S. guarantee never, never, saw the light of any resolution. It was fought tooth and nail, they fought tooth and nail against it; Prime Minister Barrow, the [member] from Collet, I think he was Opposition in those days, they fought tooth and nail. As a matter of fact an attempt was tried to introduce it into the House and there was a big demonstration outside. Couldn’t be tabled; the people said no and they backed off. I will give you the details out of the mouth of the leader himself. (Interruption) It’s a budget debate because it was the member from Fort George who raised it and went down on it in extenso, with a view to try to re-create history. So Madam Speaker, it is fair that I respond to it, and I am going to respond to it in his own words. So I’m not going to… (Interruption), no, I’m going to use his own words. I’m just paraphrasing because I know Madam Speaker was getting nervous thinking I might have been going too long on it, no. but I think it is of such importance. Madam Speaker, this is perhaps one of the most important matters that will ever come to this House during this lifetime, for the simple reason, Madam Speaker, that if we are obliged to pay all these horrendous judgments that have been given against us in consequence of actions taken against us by the “Ashcroft Alliance” with the assistance of one of our own Senators, who is being paid simultaneously by the Government of Belize as well as by [Ashcroft] – I’ve never seen a more egregious case of conflict of interest – this is going to destroy our society.”

 

[Briceño argues with Speaker of the House]

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“His Prime Minister is in the same condition; his Prime Minister’s law firm continues to work for Belize Bank which is owned by Lord Ashcroft. [Argument continues]”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I’m not agreeing to you that my Prime Minister is in the same position. I am simply saying to you that I have never seen a more egregious case of conflict of interest than to have a person being paid by the Government of Belize, simultaneously being paid by Ashcroft and taking the country to court. All the debts will have to be paid by the poor people – the people in Toledo East will have to pay for it; the people in Pickstock will have to pay it, the people in Collet will have to pay it at a time when they don’t have money to pay for food. So this is not a joke; this is an exceedingly serious matter, Madam Speaker. And I am suggesting that this was not by accident, this thing was designed, it was a designed performance, because big banks don’t act by accident; Prime Ministers of a country don’t act by accident.”

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