PetroCaribe countdown begins

By Benjamin Flowers
Staff Reporter

Belize’s access to PetroCaribe funding draws close to its end, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight reported this week.
“We’re down to $15 million,” Waight said Tuesday. “We had compensation payments to make, and commitments and we borrowed a little out of it as well.”

Waight added that because of the falling price of oil on the world market, Belize has less access to the already dwindling supply of funds. He said that through the program, GOB is getting approximately $1 million every two weeks.
In November 2015, when he had given the last update on the status of Petro Caribe, Belize had access to around $40 million.

Belize has been a part of the PetroCaribe program since 2005, when the People’s United Party (PUP) first signed on to the agreement. It was reactivated by the United Democratic Party in 2012.
Since then Belize has borrowed an amount in excess of $350 million for various projects across the country, and also used some of it for debt-servicing.

The fund has been the center of many a controversy in political circles, and was even to be investigated by the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley, for discrepancies.
The Auditor General, however, said that she would look into PetroCaribe, after she completed the Immigration Department audit, which is still pending.

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