The People’s United Party met today to discuss the UHS debt. The meeting was held in Belize City and ended a few minutes before news time. During the press conference this morning, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the PUP met with Michael Ashcroft to decide if they will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with regards to paying the multi-million dollar debt.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“I was told by the people at the airport that Ashcroft arrived perhaps on the same day that I left. That is a fact. What is not a fact but what my sources say is that he met with the PUP to talk about providing them with materia de guerra. Remember there are elections coming. And you know that they can’t, the PUP get any materia de guerra, except they will vote when this matter comes to parliament for the payment of this unconscionable illegal bargain to Ashcroft.”
After the PUP meeting, we manage to get a comment from PUP Leader John Briceno on the issue.
Opposition Leader John Briceno
“We met to discuss the issue in front of us, the matter of the $90 million dollar judgment from the Caribbean Court of Justice and we are not at the point of making a decision as to whether it is going to be a yes or no or whatever. Its important for us to be able to get the facts, for us to get a proper understanding as to what has been taking place under the Barrow administration. What we know for a fact is that the Barrow administration has been litigating from day one and every case he has taken up he has lost and it has cost this country millions and millions of dollars so there’s nothing about speculation whether we would have paid or not we would not have been in the situation where we are today. If you add up what the Prime Minister has caused this country, when you rack up all the losses that he had ; BTL $557 million dollars, here is another $90 million dollars with Fortis there was about another $100 million I don’t remember the exact numbers you are looking at almost $700 million Dean Barrow and the UDP has cost this country and now he wants to pontificate as if he’s fighting for the Belizean people give me a break, he was the one, he was the one that has created this problem and created this crisis and as the saying goes you broke it, you own it, you fix it.”
“Don’t they want you to fix it.”
Opposition Leader – John Briceno
“Well, that is their problem. That is their problem.”
The Prime Minister says that the only way that the debt can be paid is if a subsequent government takes the matter before parliament and votes in favor of settling the debt.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Remember we don’t pay interest continues to run but I don’t make light of it. I have to say though that if you can’t collect how does that help you. Ultimately if they find a way to collect we’re in the soup but how will you find a way to collect except and in this case it is not just changing the Crown Proceedings Act, except some succeeding government, will have the ganas and the numbers to change the constitution because it is the constitution that says you can’t take money out of that consolidated fund to pay for any purpose including the satisfaction of a judgment unless parliament votes it. Now it may well be that a different government puts up an appropriation bill and is able to pass it.”
We will have more of the Prime Minister’s conference tomorrow.