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Oct 30, 2014

Petrocaribe Funds to Cover Cost of Helicopter Acquisition

Dean Barrow

One hundred and eighty million dollars of the Petrocaribe Funds are unspent. The Prime Minister will use part of that money to pay for the helicopters, since government’s coffers are bulging with those monies, in his own words. There’s no doubt that the purchase would be for a good cause – there are few better causes than national security – but the agreement with Venezuela does specify use for social and poverty alleviation programs. Barrow doesn’t see a problem with that at this point, and clarified that the Petrocaribe money allows them to spend without counting the cost.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I’m sure though that with respect to national security, we can get a pass from the Venezuelans and I made the point in the press release that the government sent out that look, in terms of accounting for the Petrocaribe funds, we account not only to the Belizean people; we account to the Venezuelans. They were here six months ago and did a complete evaluation and pronounced themselves—my words, not theirs—ecstatic about the fact that the program is so absolutely well-run, so impeccably run in this country. So I don’t think we would have any difficulty at all. More generally though, what the Venezuela money allows us to do is to spend from government’s recurrent revenue flow—not stopping to count the cost because we know that any holes that arise can be plugged by recourse to the Petrocaribe funds. So for example in the last budget we made plain that at the end of the day, there was an overall financing gap which will be filled, we said in the following ways. It included in those ways, a drawdown of fifty-nine million dollars from Petrocaribe. I don’t know that the regular citizen is much concerned about this issue of whether there is technical separation between different sources of monies that go into the consolidated revenue fund, but I hope certainly that I’ve made clear that what’s happening here is simply that this Petrocaribe fund provides the government with the kind of flow that means that at any given time, we can go into government coffers and find money to pay for social programs and in this case to pay certainly for the acquisition of the helicopters.”

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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