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Jul 11, 2013

Will statutory instrument allow ministries to bypass Central Bank?

Julius Espat

The Prime Minister signed a Statutory Instrument (S.I.) on June twentieth that has caused some backlash from the Opposition. A section of regulations thirty three in the Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 was repealed. The Prime Minister replaced it with a section that reads, “Nothing in these regulations shall apply to the Government of Belize and no permission, permit or approval of the Central Bank or any other authority shall be required by – or on behalf of the Government of Belize for opening and operating a bank account in any currency, or for conducting any transaction in relation to any securities or otherwise, or for any other dealings in foreign currency.” According to Peoples United Party Deputy Leader Julius Espat, the S.I. will allow government departments and ministries to bypass the Central Bank; an action which would opens a Pandora’s Box of issues including accountability and transparency in G.O.B. offices.

 

Via Phone: Julius Espat, P.U.P. Deputy Leader

“Basically what it is saying is that nothing that is in that regulation applies to any ministry or minister or government office. That is a serious concern to us. We are…as an opposition; we have the right to ask questions. This is an S.I. done, it was passed, as legislators we have no knowledge of it. I have been receiving calls and meeting with the business community and they had no knowledge of and it raises questions. At this point in time, the Belizean people don’t have trust in their political leader and this is just one more example of where we are lacking in transparency and accountability. We are not moving forward in that direction. This shows you that we are moving backward. And therefore, we want to know why was it changed? What are the implications of it and why hasn’t it been done since 198, since Independence? Why is it now that they are changing it? And this is giving you an open blanket to say when it pertains to this regulation, the Government of Belize or any minister or any ministry can do what they want without the supervision and administration of the Central Bank; no oversight…and that is scary.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“That means that any government department will be able to open up foreign accounts? What is the significance of that to you?”

 

Via Phone: Julius Espat

“Specify foreign currency accounts. I think the government of Belize, the ministry of finance needs to come out and explain to the Belizean people and to the business community if that means that they can open foreign accounts and have no supervision done by Central Bank. We need to know because then that is scary because the people who are supposed to be the custodians of our money, the Belizean people’s money, can do what they want; when they want; where they want without the supervision of our regulated board. And that is where the concern arises. I am not an attorney at law and I am not an economist so I am not putting myself out like that. I am here as a legislator and a representative of people and it is our obligation to ask the questions.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“What if the answer given then would be to make business for government departments smoother and easier to occur? What if that is the reason that is given?”

 

Via Phone: Julius Espat

“My question to that is if that’s the fact, who regulates them? And have they been doing a good job in giving us accountability and transparency?”

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1 Response for “Will statutory instrument allow ministries to bypass Central Bank?”

  1. Beachman says:

    Belizeans, wake up! The PM, who is also the Minister of Finance made and passed a bill saying he can do whatever the hell he wants with the country’s money, and there is no accountability! This is a complete conflict of interest and should be strongly protested until he steals whatever money is remaining in Belize!

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