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Oct 29, 2014

Espat Says Petrocaribe Is Not a Bank

Julius Espat

Government has presented a loan motion in the House under the Finance and Audit Act which states that they can give approval for a loan if it’s from a financial institution. But Espat argues that Alba Petrocaribe is not a financial institution, so G.O.B. needs to wheel and come again. Every aspect of the Petrocaribe agreement, says Espat, has been handled wrongly by the government. And it is now up to the Judiciary to make things right.

 

Via Phone: Julius Espat, Claimant in Lawsuit

“How will they justify the fact that they have been spending the money since 2012? It’s now 2014 and they have never come to the House to seek approval. They have never gazetted how the expenses have been done. They haven’t followed the law. So we want government to make sure that they do the right thing. If they are here as government to establish law and order in this country and expect that the Belizean citizen follow the law, then they are the first to do it. They have to set the example. Accountability and transparency are critical in everything. We need to know that the money which is being spent which is our money is being spent properly.  There is another issue. Now that they have borrowed the money, they need to start to pay it back, and there is only one way to pay it back – through the Consolidated Fund. So they have no authority to try to pay it back without getting the authority of the House. They have not sought that authority either. It is like we are having a scenario where it is a democratic dictatorship, where they believe that the Executive can do anything that they please even though it is not in their jurisdiction. They are overlapping into the Legislature. They are abusing their authority. And that is why we are going to the third branch of Government, which is the Judiciary.”

 

Late this evening the Government of Belize issued a release calling the court action an abuse of court process and an unpatriotic attempt to play politics. The release claims that all the bases for complaint have already been taken care of, or are being taken care of in the House, and as such are totally without merit. The government release calls the fund a special commercial and diplomatic arrangement under which Venezuela sells Belize petroleum on terms that oblige G.O.B. only to pay a part of the purchase price upfront, and keep the rest as credit to be paid instead on installments over 20 years. In closing, the release states that, “the Government will then, on behalf of the Belizean people resist with every resource this legal fig leaf being employed by a party on the wrong side of history.” Of course, that every resource that the release speaks of is referring to taxpayer dollars being paid to G.O.B.’s attorneys of choice who have already raked in millions from what seems to be endless litigation against or instigated by this administration.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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