General / Weekend News

Ministers say they will vote against motion for GOB to pay Belize Bank $90 Million

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

Several ministers of government have gone on record to say they will vote against a motion, whenever it is brought up in the House by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, to have the government pay the Belize Bank some $90 Million, as ordered by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The money has to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and only the House of Representatives can vote for that to happen.

The Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP) Deputy Leader, Julius Espat reminded Friday that if they go against the Court’s decision, it is disrespect.

“What signal are you sending in the foreign market with foreign direct investors that you are mal pago? …
I am of the opinion that we have to be responsible, and if you owe somebody you have to pay them, and we have to pay them back. It has been proven in the past that by not paying we are now incurring serious additional costs going up to…close to $700 million that we have to pay because we refuse to pay from the initial stages.”

Espat said he felt Barrow will have an influence over how the government ministers vote.

The debt, with some $68 Million in interests, came about after the Barrow administration had cancelled a sovereign guarantee to the Belize Bank, which the PUP had made on behalf of Universal Health Services hospital, just prior to losing office. That sovereign guarantee came in the form of a gift from the government of Venezuela to be used on the poorer class.

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