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Feb 3, 2020

B.C.C.I. Issues Release on Petrocaribe Ruling

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has issued a statement on the unprecedented ruling on Friday, in which Chief Justice Kenneth struck down the Petrocaribe Loans Act and declared the government spending of approximately one point billion dollars as unconstitutional. The B.C.C.I. recalls that in 2005, social partners supported the amendment of the Finance and Audit Reform Act as a necessary step to ensure increased accountability and transparency in public spending.    Consequently, it says, when the Government first offended the FARA and sought to retroactively repair its breach via the Loans Act, there was widespread objection from the public, as well as from the B.C.C.I. and non-government Senators.  The B.C.C.I. says it holds the same position as it did in 2015, when it was alarmed that the government retroactively validated what were clear violations of the FARA. So now, it welcomes the confirmation provided by the Judiciary.    According to B.C.C.I., “Government’s cavalier treatment of the foundational principles of Rule of Law is completely unacceptable as this encourages both individual and institutional corruption.  This also further diminishes any credibility that the Government is committed to the implementation of the framework of the UN Convention against Corruption.” The B.C.C.I. also urges government, not only to address this specific instance in which it has violated the Constitution, but also past and current instances of individual and institutional corruption, and to do so with the urgency required.

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