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May 22, 2002

Barrow: Port sale is outrageous

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And when that campaign comes, it is not certain whether it will turn on the particular circumstances in each of the twenty-nine constituencies or revolve around issues of national importance. One man looking to create a broad based buzz is UDP leader Dean Barrow and today he took aim at government’s policy of privatisation, particularly the port.

Dean Barrow

“The government has acted in a fashion that leaves so much to be desired. There’s no transparency at all. I still don’t know what the arrangements are, I still don’t know what the terms and conditions are and I don’t think the public knows. I gather there was an interview on Channel 5 yesterday with Luke Espat and Norris Hall, and that was the first time any effort was made to get into the details at all. And as far as I know, not having seen the interview, there’re still lots of things that haven’t been said. And I think just that fact alone is scandalous, we don’t know what the terms and conditions are. We don’t know how much Mr Espat has paid. We don’t know why it is that all the money government wanted to sell for has not been paid up front. We don’t know how much time he has, whether he will turn around now and as it were, having been given a option, resell to foreign… It’s totally lacking in transparency and I think it’s an outrage.”

“It’s another asset that is gone from the control of the people, and it’s another asset that might well end up again in foreign hands. Now we in the UDP are not against foreign ownership, but we feel that where essential utilities in this country are concerned, they ought to remain in the majority ownership and control of Belizeans. No difficulty at all with there being a partnership, with foreigners, but don’t pass over control to the foreigners, because you’re talking about things that in a way constitute a kind of life blood for the country. So in terms of the port again being so critically important, it might well be that Mr Espat is just a kind of conduit or some kind of front. I don’t know, and nobody knows because the government is not coming clean.”

When asked to comment on the sale of the port, Prime Minister Said Musa today told News 5 that he did not care to discuss it at this time.


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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