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Feb 25, 2020

Eamon Sounds Off on Coastal Road Contract and Imer Hernandez

The Coastal Road Project was formally launched on Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony in La Democracia Village.  At a cost of a hundred and thirty million Belize dollars, the stretch of road connecting central and southern Belize, bypassing the Hummingbird Highway, is arguably the most expensive infrastructure initiative to be undertaken by the government.  It is not without controversy, however, as serious concerns have been raised by the opposition regarding the awarding of such a hefty contract in the absence of a Contractor General.  The groundbreaking ceremony saw the attendance of government officials from Belize and the UK, as well as representatives from the Caribbean Development Bank, sources that are funding the project.  This morning, former senator Eamon Courtenay during an appearance on the Business Perspective, weighed in on the contentious nature of the contract which has been awarded to businessman Imer Hernandez.  According to Courtenay, the UK government and the CDB are supporting a contract that was never taken to parliament as per the constitution of Belize.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Former Opposition Senator

“You had representatives of the British government, some man named Mr. Kossef.  You had representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank, some man called Mr. Best, go and participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Coastal Road, one hundred and thirty million dollars to be spent in an exercise that is patently criminal.  And I make no mistake about what I am saying, the laws of this country say any contract above five million must go to the Contractor General.  There was no Contractor General when that contract was awarded.  Beyond that, the law requires any contract over five million to go to the National Assembly within thirty days of it being executed for the National Assembly, the Senate and the House to examine the contract and the related papers to satisfy itself that the tender process was completed according to law.  We know as a fact that the company called Construcciones y Carreteras of Mexico who supposedly is in joint venture with Imer Hernandez, the infamous Imer Hernandez, that Mexican company is no longer a part of that joint venture.  It was a joint venture on paper only.  Yesterday, Mr. Best and Mr. Kossef told the Belizean people that they complied with all the legal requirements for the award of that contract.  That is a lie, it is untrue and I am saying to the British government and to the Caribbean Development Bank, they are participating in an unlawful exercise.  The Belizean people must not, and I repeat, we must not be saddled with one hundred and thirty million dollars when the process is being pointed out to our development partners and saying the process has not been done properly.  And they will insist and proceed with it.  Well, we have spoken.  The party leader has made it very clear the position of the party and I am saying it now today, after listening to those gentlemen lie to us, the British government cannot pretend, the Caribbean Development Bank cannot pretend that they did not know, that we did not say that this exercise, the award of that contract is not according to law and they are aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.”

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