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Sep 3, 2021

Opposition Accuses Government of Hypocrisy on TNC Agreement

The Prime Minister also spoke on carbon credits during his presentation in the House.  For context, in October of 2020, the Barrow administration and The Nature Conservancy entered into an agreement to promote the long-term protection and conservation of the natural assets of Belize, including the flora and fauna.  It is an idea that the Briceño Administration also supports and after he explained the details of it, Leader of the Opposition Shyne Barrow and his predecessor, Patrick Faber rose to criticize Briceño for not supporting the agreement when the U.D.P. had first presented it, but then come back to do so now that he is in power.

 

John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Both parties, having the very same view of wanting to ensure that we could conserve these lands in perpetuity. So, after a few months of negotiations, TNC and the Government of Belize, subject to Cabinet’s approval, have agreed to the following by way of a proposed supplemental agreement to be entered between TNC and G.O.B., called the MFT Supplemental Agreement, a) that land taxes shall be payable on the MFT lands at a rate of a dollar and forty cents per acre – a discounted price. The previous government, they were giving it free. We’re saying pay something small. This will yield approximately three hundred and sixty our thousand dollars per annum or eighteen million, two hundred and fifty dollars over the period of fifty years, which as I said, would have other been forgone by the past U.D.P. Administration. B) Any excess carbon credits offset sale proceeds on the existing carbon sequestered over and above the fifty-four point five million US, being fifty percent of the acquisition cost, interest, and expenses, or roughly thirty-eight point five million [dollars] US – one hundred percent of the endowment cost cap at fifteen million [dollars] US and management costs or cap at one point one million [dollars] US. Remember the whop we got with the settlement for B.T.L. Dem mi she all ah that gwein to a trust. And then all of that money was taken out because of expenses. Well, we decided – we ensured that there was going to be a cap. All of that money will be spent in Belize as exclusively determined by the Government of Belize.”

 

Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“The way that you just romanticized, the way you just painted this fairy tale of the TNC is completely contrary to when you and the Members from that side stood up in this House and tried to impute improper motives on the previous administration. You tried to scandalize the TNC deal and say that we were giving away money – we were doing – right before elections so that we could finance our elections. Now all of a sudden, contrary to how you feel about BTL and Smart and saving money for the government, you are so concerned about saving money for the government and you think that this is such a wonderful deal, this is exemplary, the same way that you thanked the TNC and you thanked the Maya Forest, you should thank the former UDP administration. You should thank the former Minister of Lands. And you should applaud us and him for having the vision that you now have. I’m happy that you’ve converted.”

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Area Representative, Collet

“I don’t think it was in this House that we first heard it. It was in the Senate, when our friend, the Foreign Minister went to great pains to indeed paint this deal as a corrupted deal happening days before the election, criticizing my colleague, the Member for Corozal North for not having the authority to sign this at all. My friend, the Leader of the Opposition is absolutely right. We watched all of that play out, and it’s just, Madam Speaker, a symbol of what they’ve done on multiple occasions.  The carbon credits are one thing, but land tax is another thing and Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister would have you believe that the actions – in fact, he used the words – let me use the exact words that he used to describe what the U.D.P.’s agreement was. You see, Madam Speaker, what he has to do is to make some amendment to make it look like what the U.D.P. had agreed to was wrong and crazy. He used words like “defect”; there were defects in the agreement. He used words like “foregone” – that the government would have forgone the land tax.  Well, Madam Speaker, we don’t see it that way at all, and the government was terribly premature but again it was in their zealousness to be right and to try to prove the government at the time to be wrong. They criticized foregoing the taxes as he puts it.”


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