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Apr 2, 2020

What’s Up With the Corozal Subvention from G.O.B.?

Dean Barrow

The economic slowdown is not only affecting central government, but the nine municipalities in the country. While G.O.B. can access international funding, the councils require funding for their recurrent expenses. In Corozal, the council currently employs over a hundred persons. So what happens going forward if the council cannot pay its staff? At his most recent press conference on COVID-19, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that an advance of April subventions would be made available to the councils, but that going forward, the councils would have to work on skeleton staff. But Mayor Rigoberto Vellos says that at least in the case of Corozal, it has not been getting any subvention since the start of the year. He alleges that instead those monies are being deposited into the account of contractor, Imer Hernandez.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“They will have to operate on a bare bones budget; just the minimum necessary, the absolutely essential services. And in terms of doing that, clearly when they reach a point that they don’t even have sufficient monies to perform those basic functions, then of course, government will have to see how government can assist. That is the duty of government, but remember that we are ourselves strapped and so it is kind of a vicious circle that we will have to work out. I just don’t want to encourage what you would call moral hazard.”

 

Rigoberto Vellos

Rigoberto Vellos, Mayor, Corozal Town

“We all heard the prime minister saying that each council will receive its April subvention. Let’s keep in mind that Corozal Town Council has not received any subvention since the beginning of the year; that goes straight to Imer Hernandez account; that is a contract signed by the past administration. Yes we did get April subvention, but it is not enough Duane, it is not enough.  At this moment, the town council is receiving less than one-third of its revenue that it used to receive and we need to pay salaries. End of month salaries just passed, the fifteen is coming again and these are things that the government needs to look at and I am hoping that they reach out to each council apart from that April subvention. The reality is that yes they gave us the subvention and we are very thankful for that, but they filled a hole to create another hole because when April comes, we won’t be able to get that subvention again. So we are hoping that whatever finances that is there, that the government thinks about the different councils also. We don’t want to send any of our staff home without any salary.”


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