GOB will front CPBL $2 million of PetroCaribe funds

By Alexis R. Milan
Staff Reporter

The government of Belize, through the use of PetroCaribe funds, will front the Citrus Products of Belize Limited (CPBL) two million dollars for citrus farmers who have not been paid by the company to collect and cover their expenses.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow made the announcement at Thursday’s press conference in the presence of several citrus farmers who were happy for the government’s contribution. According to Barrow, there has been a lag between sale of products from CPBL and collection of revenue so farmers have been unable to collect the entirety of their first payments.

Barrow said the government, sympathetic toward the position the farmers are in, having needs to refinance and replenish their fields, has decided to provide the money for the farmers to be paid immdiately. Barrow said CPBL actually needs four million dollars, but government has pledged half and Heritage Bank has pledged the other two million.
The Prime Minister said he fully expects for Heritage Bank to raise the money but in the event they don’t, the government will front the entire four million dollars for the farmers to be paid. Barrow explained that the money is not a hand-out, but simply a sort of on- the- spot loan that CPBL will pay back.

Barrow said the same was done last year and CPBL was able to pay back without any trouble. So the government has no problem stepping in and making this arrangement with CPBL. Barrow said the government of Belize is happy to assist the citrus farmers however it can.

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