Weekend News

BNTU weighs in on UHS debt

By Benjamin Flowers

The Belize National Teachers Union is the latest group to say that the Government of Belize should pay the $90 million arbitration award with respect to the Universal Health Services debt guarantee.

BNTU president Elena Smith told the media that the matter has gone beyond whether or not anyone agrees that the debt was illegally placed on the Belizean people, given the pronouncement by the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Smith said that given the highest court in Belize has pronounced that the government must pay, not doing so worsens Belize’s position internationally, as well as makes the debt even larger due to the accumulating interest.

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, opposition People’s United Party, and the political third party the Belize Progressive Party have all said that GOB must pay the award, handed down by the London Court of International Arbitration, and upheld on November 22 by the CCJ.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow said this week that he will bring a motion to the Cabinet as required by the constitution, but he feels that there is an “extremely high risk” that the ministers will vote “No” against paying the bill.

Barrow went on to say that, in the event the Cabinet votes “no” the CCJ cannot compel them to vote again and return with a “yes” vote.Elena Smith

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