Central Bank Governor discusses Petro Caribe account

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Updated: June 29, 2015

One of the many issues surrounding Petro Caribe Program is that the account where it is kept at the Central bank has been set up as a private Government slush fund. In fact, critics have said that GOB has been using the monies for politicking. Today, we caught up with the Governor of the Central Bank, Glenford Ysaquirre, and he outlined the way the fund is accessed while sharing that he has not seen any circumstances that would lead him to believe that the monies are being misused.

Glenford Ysaguirre – Governor, Central Bank

“There are several accounts because the government would operate accounts with us for different reasons and so they operate a particular account for the Petro Caribe funds when it comes in. The Central Bank gets the hard currency and we credit the government account with the Belize dollar equivalent of it and then from there the government then access that account, whether through transfers to commercial banks or pay through the Treasury Department to pay for its operations by instructing the Central Bank to transfer monies to those accounts or to honor cheques that would be drawn on their commercial bank accounts. The allocation of the funds, that’s a matter for the ministry. That question as to how the funds are used or applied would be a question more appropriately placed to the financial secretary. It is not for us to determine, we would get instructions from the government to apply funds for specific purposes.”

Reporter

“As far as you’re aware as the banker of the government, can this this allegation of public funds being used for politicking by the UDP government, a legitimate case that can be made to the general public.

Glenford Ysaguirre – Governor, Central Bank

“I haven’t seen any evidence to indicate that that can be so.”

Ysaguirre says that the Auditor General is free to request any sort of information to conduct an audit.

Reporter

“One of the suggestions by the critics has also been that the reason why the money is being kept at the Central Bank is because it is out of the reach of the auditor general.”

Glenford Ysaguirre – Governor, Central Bank

“That’s absolutely inaccurate and an untruth. If you look at the Central Bank act, there’s a clause somewhere, almost in the back of the Central Bank Act whereby if there is any concern, the Auditor General does have access to go in there and audit. We provide statements to the Accountant General for all the accounts operated by the government on a monthly basis. In fact I think when one media house was waving around a statement, they claim it came from Central Bank, it probably did because we provide, we are the bankers for the government and we provide them with monthly bank statements so they can reconcile so the Auditor General does have access to all that information. What I am saying is that information is there and if it is the wish of the Auditor General to audit those accounts or in the process of their oversight that information is available.”

Reporter

“So you’re saying that if she wishes to access it she can request that information?”

Glenford Ysaguirre – Governor, Central Bank

“I am sure at some point they all do because it is the duty of the Auditor General to audit government activities whether it be with Central Bank or at the department level or at the commercial bank level.