By Alexis R. Milan
An agreement document between the Government of Belize and Alba Petro Caribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL) has surfaced, revealing that GOB knows beforehand the specific sums of money it would be borrowing at any given time.
According to Senator Mark Lizarraga, the agreement between APBEL and GOB shows clearly that GOB knows the cost of the fuel and the amount of the financed portion, before the ship even leaves Venezuela.
“It is untrue, to say that the amount to be financed is unspecified, as GOB or any purchaser of goods will tell you, that they always know at [the] time of placing an order, the acquisition cost of the goods, or fuel in this case.
The minute the goods are ordered, and certainly in this case, the moment the bill of laden is made, we know the price, because that is when the interest on the loans starts to accumulate”, Lizarraga asserted.
He pointed to another clause in the agreement which says repayment of the loan by the government shall be guaranteed by promissory note for each shipment, for the value of the financed portion, as soon as the bill of lading is issued. Lizarraga explained that this means this is done before the ship sails.
“The issue of the bill of lading commences [on] the loan date, for monies [the] government will not receive until after the fuel is sold by APBEL to local wholesalers. So again we clearly see, that [the] government does know, before the fuel leaves Venezuela, what the financed portion will be,” Lizarraga said.
Speaking on the government’s passing of the recent PetroCaribe Loan Act, Lizarraga said the Bill seeks to validate and confirm, retrospectively, the loan agreement of 2012 with ALBA Petro Caribe, borrowing of the first amount of US $114,307,356 between September 2012, and August, 2014 and the borrowing of US $28,776,243 from APBEL during September 2014 to February 2015.
“It seeks to exonerate, all those persons who broke the law, and are liable to fines under Statutory Instrument # 31 of 2010, which prescribes:
Where ‘every person who contravenes or knowingly permits or suffers any other person to contravene, any provision of this Act, or any regulations made thereunder, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both’”, Lizarraga pointed out.
Effectively, the Bill will have the ultimate effect of emasculating and robbing the Belizean public of their right, through their duly elected representatives, of having a say through parliamentary debate, how public debt is to be incurred and how public debt is to be repaid he added.