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Aug 29, 2018

Revisiting the Postponement of the U.H.S. Debt Payment

Dean Barrow

In December 2017, on the heels of a final sitting of the House of Representatives for that year, Prime Minister Dean Barrow discussed the U.H.S. debt with the media.  At the time, PM Barrow informed the media that he was simply awaiting a certificate from the Belize Bank, following a ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice ordering government to pay the outstanding sum.  What was said outside of the House came just days before several cabinet members took an individual, but unified position that while it is a conscience vote, they will not vote in favour of government paying the mounting debt.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: December 8th, 2017]

“We clearly are waiting until we get the certificate, which can only be issued twenty-one days after the judgment. But once that certificate comes, I think we will want to have a special meeting as quickly as is practicable.”

 

Reporter

“Is there a timestamp – once you get the certificate is there a timestamp, or risk imprisonment?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t think so. We are quite clear that the monies have to be voted by Parliament; there are all sorts of arguments with the other side as to whether Parliament’s vote in a certain way is obligatory. We’ve announced to you and to the world that once we get the certificate, we will come to parliament with the supplementary allocation, I don’t see that there is any risk that if we take a couple of weeks before we in fact summon the meeting that that could be misinterpreted as a desire or determination on our part not to call the meeting at all. The meeting will be called.”

 

Reporter

“Probably early in the New Year?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Assuming that the certificate comes as early as it come, certainly not later that the middle of January, I would think perhaps the first week in January.”

 

So this Friday, it will all play out in the House.

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