Belize Youth Movement Says No to SSB Loan for Santander

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Updated: February 11, 2016

The Belize Youth Movement is the youth arm of the People’s United Party with a mandate to advocate on matters that affect the youth population, not only for the present but for the long term as well.  BYM has joined the voices advocating against the proposed twelve million dollar loan from the Social Security Board to Santander Sugar Mill.  In its release it states, in part, quote, “The decision by the Investment Committee of the Social Security Board to use $12,000,000 to shoulder the financial burdens of a rich, foreign conglomerate, Santander, is a slap on the faces of Belizeans workers whose sweat and tears provides SSB with its funds.  Alberto Vellos, the President of BYM spoke more on their position regarding the loan to Santander.

ALBERTO VELLOS

“We have several concerns on multiple fronts having to do with the level of transparency that is being applied to this decision. On a whole the decision of using the workers money to provide finances for a foreign rich company we believe that is not what the monies are there for. We believe that it should be used to advance the lives of Belizeans and in particular the Belizeans who are most in need of it. We know the poverty level in our country is rising and we feel that that is where the money should go. In particular we make the point that if the SSB investment committee wants to find ways of meaningfully investing the money they could turn to young people. Our young people are in great need of assistance of investments that would promote their development whether it may be education or finding ways of creating employment for them. We believe that is where monies like these can be directed.”

The Belize Youth Movement is calling for investments in education while referring to a report by the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development which pointed to youth unemployment being inadequately addressed.

ALBERTO VELLOS

“We have provided evidence, we have highlighted the area of the report that we quote from that by investing in education and ways of reducing unemployment it will positively impact the GDP growth in our country. We are pointing that out to the SSB committee to look at young people and the Belizeans that are most in need and to put the monies in that direction instead of where they are putting it right now. We do not agree with the decision to shoulder Santander’s burden. They are a well-known conglomerate in the Americas and Europe, they are a mixed Spanish/Guatemalan company. They have investments all over the world, they are involved in banking, this is a company that can do on its own and it should not have to rely on the Belizean people because that is what they are doing. Perhaps if it were a local company we would look at it and consider it but it makes it even worse that it’s a foreign rich company. We have definitely asked the SSB investment committee on behalf of the young people in our party and we believe that we are also representing the concerns of other young people across the country that this is not the best way to go about this and we hope that they listen to us.”

The release ended by stating, quote, “Our Belizean youth would be more optimistic about the future if meaningful and strategic investments were made towards their development. We call on the SSB Investment Committee to utilize the workers’ savings fund more responsibly and to the benefit of those who really matter.”  End of quote.