Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, People & Places, Politics, Trials » P.U.P. Legally Challenges Government Expenditure from Public Purse
Nov 20, 2019

P.U.P. Legally Challenges Government Expenditure from Public Purse

John Briceño

Opposition Leader John Briceño and Julius Espat, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, are claimants in a suit brought against the Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte.  They are challenging government’s expenditure of over one point three billion dollars, including the PetroCaribe funds that were borrowed from Venezuela.  The motion for constitutional relief is set against the backdrop of the Finance and Audit Reform Act which stipulates that the proposed spending of public monies exceeding the amount prescribed under that piece of law must first be approved in the National Assembly.  The People’s United Party, via this challenge, is seeking a declaration that all supplementary allocations, withdrawals and expenditures by PM Barrow and Fin Sec Waight, of monies that form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, whether raised or received by the country, are unlawful and void.  This afternoon, Briceño and Espat appeared in the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin where Espat took the stand, followed by Joe Waight, who was crossed examined by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay.  Following the hearing, Party Leader John Briceño spoke of the origin of the claim.

 

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“I was actually shocked and dismayed to see how the prime minister has virtually abused the constitution and the laws of this country when it comes to spending the people’s money.  You know, it reminds me that coming to 2008 when he was in opposition, he criticized our government heavily for spending money then coming to get approval in the National Assembly.  And now here he comes doing that and even worse because, one: he has spent over one point three billion dollars without the necessary approvals from the National Assembly.  Secondly, he passes a special law, the Petrocaribe law where he is trying to legalize an illegal act when he was spending the monies from Petrocaribe.  So that by itself is something else, but it’s even more important and in that act he said every three months he was going to come to the National Assembly to give a report as to the spending of the PetroCaribe monies and that never happened.  We cannot continue to allow the prime minister to continue to blatantly break the law and disregard the constitution and for us it is very important to set a precedent now, for this government and for future governments to ensure that this does not happen again.  We have every confidence that the next government is going to be a government led by the P.U.P. and we want to make sure that that does not happen in our government.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Can it be argued, however, that this motion is belated?”

 

John Briceño

“Why would you say belated?”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Considering the fact that the PetroCaribe monies have already been spent.”

 

John Briceño

“But it is not only PetroCaribe’s monies.  The point is that they are spending money, the people’s money.  Money that we have borrowed, monies that have been spent on projects that there is no accountability, bad workmanship, bloated contracts.  This money is the people’s money, it’s not PetroCaribe.  Yes, some of the money was borrowed through PetroCaribe but it is our money.”


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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed