In August 2015, Prime Minister Dean Barrow as the Minister of Finance signed a loan agreement with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, CABEI. CABEI approved the thirty million US dollar loan for Belize’s Integral Security Programme an initiative that is aligned to the Central American Security Strategy. It is expected that the monies will be used to invest in infrastructure and equipment in Belizean institutions responsible for the security of the Belizean people. The Government has plans to invest in projects such as a new forensic laboratory, buying two patrol crafts for the Coast Guard and refurbishing dozens of buildings used by the Belize Police Department as housing units. That was six months ago and we are nearly at the end of the second month of the New Year. So what’s taking so long? That is what we asked Retired Colonel George Lovell, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of National Security.
“The loan was signed by the Prime Minister and by the bank I think it was in September or October of last year but there are some processes that one needs to go through for the monies to be disbursed. One of the first things that needs to be done is for the Program Executing Unit to be stood up. We need to have a Coordinator for that unit identified and that person will be the person that actually runs that unit. We are yet to have CABEI, the bank approve the Terms of Reference because there is a process that we go through to have the Terms of Reference for all these posts that we intend to employ to be approved. Once those are approved then they will be published in our Gazettes and the vacancies will be advertised not just from Belize but from within the region as well. One of the first orders of business for monies to be disbursed as a result of the approved loan is for us to put together a Program Executing Unit where there will be a Program Coordinator who will be overall in charge, he will have a staff of a logistic officer, finance officer, procurement officer, engineers that will be the team that will manage the program itself. For that to happen we need to ensure that we hire, advertise the port and recruit the right people for those jobs. There’s a process that that takes and that is the process that we are going through and that is the reason why you are not seeing constructions just yet.”
The loan will also be used to buy vehicles for the Belize Defence Force.