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Nov 1, 2019

Minister Elrington Weighs in on the Payment of Joshua Perdomo’s Debt

On Thursday night we reported that the Perdomo family has paid off the forty thousand dollar debt incurred by Joshua Perdomo after he received the money in 2009 for studies abroad and never returned to honour his bond. The House supported the write-off of the debt after it was reported that he couldn’t be located.  As you know there was a big backlash over the decision to write-off the debt. Today when we caught up with Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, we asked him about the repayment of that debt. He says that forty-thousand dollars is a small sum to have made such a big public outcry about.  In the same breath he says that he believes education should be free for all Belizeans. Here’s how he explains his position on Perdomo’s case.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Cabinet Minister

“Based on what I know, the forty thousand is a negligible sum. It isn’t really anything to make an issue about. I personally believe that education should be paid for all Belizeans because it is only through an educated population that we are going to develop and grow. When I look at Belize – look at the Mennonites they dominate the economy; look at the chinese and the Indians they dominate the economy. They are all more educated than the Belizean people in general and they come from more educated societies. If Belizeans are to really benefit from the wealth untold in this country, we all have to be more educated. Our focus has got to be on the creation of productive citizens and not all of them will stay. But I know half my family live in the states, but without the remittances that they send back the country wouldn’t be doing as well as it does. Every single nation in the world, certain in the third world, relies heavily on remittances sent back by people just like Perdomo who would have gone abroad, stayed there, study and send back. He may not have paid back the loan here but he would be sending back monies to the country. I know for example growing up, I never got a scholarship to study law and everybody who got a scholarship from government to study law in my time never came back to Belize. I don’t begrudge them but investment in education always pays off, whether the person comes back to work in the country or whether he stays abroad and work, ultimately he is going to make remittances back home and develop the country.  So, Belize gets many, many more monies than what is spent in educating these people. I think that is how we should look at things like that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you don’t think that he should have had to pay it back?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I didn’t think that it was a big issue.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“But there was a bond, sir, he made a commitment?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“You know how many people make big commitments to our bank and never pay the loans; huge amount. For example, all the loans and monies we paid the people in the last administration; millions and millions not paid back to the government.”


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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