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Oct 26, 2021

What was in the former Central Bank Governor’s Severance Package?

Former Central Bank Governor Gustavo Manuel Vasquez demitted office abruptly in mid-August when his appointment as head of Belize’s monetary authority was canceled by the Governor-General. Vasquez succeeded Ambassador Joy Grant on April first and, during his short-lived tenure, was unable to see eye-to-eye with the bank’s board of directors. Vasquez’s sudden departure meant that the financial terms of his five-year contract had to be honored. While the figures for his annual compensation have been tossed around, this morning during the sitting of the House of Representatives, the question of Vasquez’s termination package was raised. Here is the exchange between the Prime Minister John Briceno, who is also the Minister of Finance, and Albert Area Representative Tracey Taegar-Panton as she attempted to get specifics.


Prime Minister John Briceno

Prime Minister John Briceno

“And the member mentioned a five-year contract with a level of righteousness that is greatly misplaced.  Would she wish for me to cite the many five-year contracts awarded by the UDP government?  Those five-year contracts were not awarded at the start of the term, but shamefully at the close of their term, when everybody knew, including them, that the UDP was going to be voted out of office.  And then there is the ministers’, the members’ public double-dealing.  You see, not wanting to miss an opportunity to grandstand, the member posted on social media, quote, while I never personally met the good governor, multiple reports say that he’s a man of integrity, his life’s work, and experience speaks volumes, end of quote.  I must agree with her on that matter.  But two weeks after the post, she tables her question here, giving the impression that something is sinister with the settlement of a commercial matter by the Central Bank, a settlement for the very person she proposes to defend a few days before.


Tracy Taegar-Panton

Tracy Taegar-Panton, Area Representative, Albert

“I don’t think the prime minister read the question properly or heard it properly.  Could the Prime Minister share with this honorable house the exact figure that was settled for the contract that was paid out to the former governor of Central Bank?  He mentioned, Madam Speaker, amounts that were his annual salary.  I would like to know the full settlement paid to the governor of the Central Bank.  Thank you Madam Speaker.”


House Speaker

“I will allow it, as it is asking to elucidate the answer, Prime Minister.”


Prime Minister John Briceno

“Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I was being kind to the honorable member for Albert, in referring to a question that had no, that I did not have to answer.  I was trying to be kind to her, that what she does not seem to understand is that it is not a matter of the Government of Belize or the Minister of Finance, but it is a matter for the Central Bank of Belize. Thank you, Madam Speaker.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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