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Aug 30, 2019

Sarteneja Road Loan Motion Sparks Heated Debate in Senate

Dr. Louis Zabaneh

Today the Senate approved three loan motions totalling one hundred and forty eight million Belize dollars. The government borrowed fifty million U.S. dollars from the Taiwanese Government for the upgrading of the Corozal-Sarteneja Road and the construction of the Pueblo Nuevo and Laguna Seca bridges. The loan agreement comes after the Taiwanese Government offered financial support under the bilateral programme of economic cooperation and development between both countries. The Sarteneja Road is forty seven miles long and the project will be administered by the Overseas Engineering and Construction Company, a Taiwanese company based in Guatemala. It was revealed today that as part of the loan agreement, if there are any issues with the loan, Government has agreed to settle the matter via the U.S. court system. In the context of corruption, Senators pointed out that this suggests that the Taiwanese Government does not trust the Barrow administration and the anti-corruption laws and mechanisms in Belize.

 

Dr. Louis Zabaneh, PUP Senator

“The people of that part of our country have been waiting for years and years for that road. We are grateful that the road is now being put in but we wonder why it has taken so long to adders that matter when in fact we have had other expenditures in infrastructure that has gone before this one. Why did those have priority over this one? So it begs the question why at this moment? People wonder is it because we are coming up  close to elections? Is that the reason? Why have these people made to suffer for so long?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Senator

Michael Peyrefitte

“So you asked why this government has taken so long to put that road. Senator Zabaneh you should ask your party, ask the PUP why it took so long for them and why they did not ever, ever build that road for those people in that area who time and time again return the area rep and  his son and the government to that seat in that area.”

 

Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, Senator for NGOs 

“The borrower should not directly or indirectly use the proceeds of the facility for any purpose that would breach the Bribery Act 2010, the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices ACT of 1977 and other similar legislation in other jurisdiction. Which Bribery Act 2010? We have no such act. There is a Bribery Act f the United Kingdom as if that applies to us. So it makes me wonder, is this an attempt, poor as it is, that the previous section not really having to do with monitoring but we have to throw in there something about anti-corruption and anti-bribery.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“There is nothing strange about that. That is basic international law transactional contracts. Under the PUP all the Ashcroft had that when you have a dispute you had to go to the London Court of Arbitration. There is nothing strange about that.”

 

The term of the loan is for twenty years and will be repaid in thirty consecutive semi-annual principal instalments commencing sixty six months after date of the first advance.


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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