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Jun 17, 2005

Musa: ?You have to follow the money?

Story PictureIn his presentation to the House, Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow spoke of the about face the Musa administration appeared to be taking regarding Michael Ashcroft and his Ecom.

Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition
?Can the Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, seriously think that it is okay to come to us today and without so much as a word of explanation, without so much as a word of apology, tell us that we are to give the Government the authority to sell to among others, Ecom/Carlisle, when in fact the Prime Minister on several occasions, coming to this House had so much to say about Ecom and Carlisle.?

?This is where this Government has brought us. And we haven?t just gotten from here to there, we have done so by a process in which the Belizean people have time and again been lied to, been betrayed. Madam Speaker, today really represents a high point of shame for this administration.?

?The Government asks this House to authorise the disposition of these millions and millions of dollars worth of assets by way of the limited tender procedure. Madam Speaker, under the Audit Act there are three different types of tender procedures. The best is the open tender procedure, which allows everybody a fair shot. And then there is the selective tender procedure which shortlists a number, but at least provides for some degree of competition. They have chosen to use the limited tender procedure, in other words, the majority of the Belizean public need not apply.?

Prime Minister Said Musa
?The truth of the matter is that we have to go this route, or we?re proposing to go this route because they have the money, you have to follow the money. It?s as simply as that. It might sound callous, but that?s the truth of the matter. If Mr. Prosser had the money, we wouldn?t be here talking about this matter today, Madam Speaker–if he had been able to secure the money. The truth of the matter is we know the position of the Belize Bank, we know the position of the Carlisle Group; they have the money. The Government will not just say, okay you have the money, take it. Not at all. We negotiated a position where a minimum of twenty percent will be made available to the workers and an additional five percent will be made available to other Belizeans. Twenty-five percent of this company will be available to the Belizean people.?

?I ask the question, which other bank, which other facility will offer this to our Belizean people? We have to deal with realities Madam Speaker. It?s all very well and easy to pontificate with righteous indignation and to say give it, give it to the workers, you promised them. We promised every opportunity will be made available for them. But as a responsible government we cannot give away the shares in this company.?

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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