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Feb 8, 2021

Minister Espat says Kill BIL!

On Friday, Cayo South Area Representative and the Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing Julius Espat made revelations into Belize Infrastructure Limited’s inner workings.  The Barrow administration created BIL, and on Friday, Minister Espat alleged that BIL was a vehicle used for the “misappropriation of public monies without public scrutiny.” According to Minister Espat, an investigation has been launched into the operations and transactions of BIL.  Espat revealed that BIL was able to access the government’s Smart Stream, which contains detailed, confidential financial information that only the finance officers should have access to.  Espat also revealed that a letter dated January twenty-second, sent by Sandra Cuello of BIL to Director at the Ministry Rey Guerrera, states that after completion of yearly external audits only operational records were purged prior to 2019.  Following Espat’s statements in the House, former General Manager of BIL, Christy Mastry, released a three-page response. In the statement, Mastry says that BIL “was not, is not, nor ever has been connected to the G.O.B. Smart Stream platform.” According to Mastry, she has also never engaged in a partnership with International Environments Limited.  As to the accusations of the general manager making purchases without approval, Mastry says that is also incorrect. As for the purging of operational records, Mastry wrote on the letter that she was unaware of the disposal of operations. News Five reached out to Mastry for further comment, but our request went unanswered. In an interview on Open Your Eyes this morning, Minister Espat kept his position, notwithstanding Mastry’s clarification.


Julius Espat

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing

“Our IT technicians went in from the Ministry of Belmopan to the offices and they found the connection and they were the ones that gave us the report. Everybody has the right to a defense. I don’t have a problem with that but the fact s that the physical line is there. The fact is they could have connected because they have specific passes and that is how we were alerted. It is not that I make this up. We get report from professionals from the Ministry and that is why it was brought up. It was brought up it was a concern. It was brought up because BIL was running wild with our money, meaning the people’s money, for too long. Over a hundred million dollars and minimal oversight is something we believe is wrong. So yes you will have opposing views as to if this was done, or if that was done but the end result is that you spent over a hundred million dollars on projects that in our opinion were overvalued, in layman terms you would call bloated contracts and the reality is that eighty percent of those contracts were given to one single firm.”

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