Former Attorney General and UDP Chairman Weighs in on Port Controversy
The war of the ports – it is a situation that brings up more questions than answers. The Definitive Agreement signed by former Minister Erwin Contreras and Portico Enterprises has brought about suspicions of corruption, land greed and audacious accommodations. The discussion continues to this day, and while we are fielding questions in all corners, today the former Attorney General and the current UDP Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte appeared on The Morning Show and spoke on the issue. One of the things he highlighted was his preference for the Stake Bank Development, headed by Michael Feinstein.
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “I believe that Stakebank, no believe I know, Stakebank is 100% Belizean owned and controlled. I like that concept. Like I love Love FM you don’t have no foreign ownership in all this. This is Belizean born and bred and produced. I know primarily to be selfish as a Belizean taxpayer that the money will stay here. When you look at, for example, the definitive agreement that the PUP wanted to adopt, you’re talking about allowing a company foreign exchange to expatriate profits and salaries and income. They actually use the word expatriate. I want to say that a mega project is owned by a Belizean. How many times you see mega things? I mean, we’re not racist or anything like that but how many times you’re in this country and you see a big project and somebody, says “who own that?” Man say some white man because it has to be some foreigner, right? It can’t be any Belizean. I would like in my lifetime to look at a mega project and say a Belizean. That attracts me.”
Rene Villanueva Sr, Host, The Morning Show: Wouldn’t the principal of Portico David Gegg, isn’ he a Belizean as well ?
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “Man but we know that he is not the primary person involved in that. It can’t be. He’s not the primary person involved in that. No disrespect. And I mean no disrespect to anybody. But he is not the primary person.”
Rene Villanueva Sr, Host, The Morning Show: And then the other port which is the Michael Ashcroft Waterloo, the Waterloo port. Isn’t Michael a Belizean too?
Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Chairman: “Dr. Rene, and I want to make this very clear about Michael Ashcroft, I don’t hold anything against him you know? He is a person, a businessman, a stone-cold businessman who is supposed to try to extract the most for the least. We are the ones who keep getting into bed with him and keep coming up short. I have no quarrel with him you know. What we are saying is that every agreement we’ve entered with that man since I’ve become, in the age of consciousness it has not ended well for us. So I do not want to see something as big as this not end well for us. So I think that Michael Ashcroft has had his time, he has had his share and I think it’s best that he not be involved in any of these mega projects in Belize anymore that’s just how I feel. So I support Stakebank which is not a secret. I’ve always supported Stakebank from the very beginning because I believe it’s homegrown, it will employ Belizeans not just at the lower levels but at the managerial levels because when these big mega people come in, you know, they bring in their own people from their own countries who make most of the salaries, most of the benefits. This will all benefit Belizean when it comes to Stakebank. That’s why I support it.”