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VIP blasts PetroCaribe Bill, supports union

By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter

The Vision Inspired by the People (VIP) has condemned the recently passed PetroCaribe Bill and has voiced their support for the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB).

According to Robert Lopez, VIP public relations officer, the passage of the bill bypasses the oversight processes and procedures of the National Assembly that are laid out in the Finance and Audit reform act of 2005, which provides for prior authorization of the National Assembly for loans contracted by government of a particular magnitude.

The provisions of the Finance Act ensures that transparency and proper accountability of government’s loan obligations is disclosed for public scrutiny but the creation of separate or special funds from which the loan proceeds is to be managed, a further derogation of the process since it is possible that the management of the loan funds will no longer require the oversight of the established Public Service entities, the VIP said.

The VIP said they were astounded by the vote of abstention by Union Senator, Ray Davis at last Monday’s Senate Sitting. Unions exist to champion the cause of democracy and to promote good governance, transparency in government affairs, and accountability, the VIP said before recalling that the Finance Act was promulgated at the insistence of the unions for greater accountability.

The VIP commended the Union for publicly declaring their dismay for the PetroCaribe bill and for Davis’ abstention from voting against the bill in the Senate. The VIP also called on all Belizeans and democratic organizations to denounce what they call a blatant attempt by the current government to bypass the oversight mechanisms of the National Assembly and to usurp the spirit and provisions of the Belize Constitution.

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