As part of Government Business, today in the House Meeting was the second reading of the General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021. The Bill is seeking to acquire additional funding to carry the public service through to the end of the fiscal year 2020/2021. Prime Minister/Minister of Finance John Briceno rose on the second reading.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We have an obligation to investigate what has happened here. Do we have value for money ? Why is, why is it that the former Prime Minister approved monies without the approval of the National Assembly knowing full well that this is in contravention of the Finance and Audit Reform Act, an act need I point out that he amended I think it was around 2009/2010 he amended that act to make his very action that he has done a criminal action. Why did he do that ? He changed that act. It’s not PUP, making spending unauthorized money a criminal act and here he has been doing it under BIL. Why is it that in almost all of the contracts that Belize Infrastructure Limited issued the name of IE, International Environment, appears ? 80% ? Yeah? About 80% of the contracts that BIL issued IE is some way or the other their hand is in the cookie jar or their two hands are in the cookie jar ? What is this special relationship – and the member from Cayo South called it and incestuous relationship and I’m trying to find another word because I don’t want to repeat the same word that you used and a come with chummy chummy, inseparable, intimate but none of them describe it best and than the word that you used Minister of Infrastructure Development.”
Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber, despite hearing the reports from the government that the country is broke, rose to dispute the Bill. After raising several points, Faber voted against the Bill.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Leader of the Opposition: “The Prime Minister introduced this bill at the last House meeting and he gave an explanation of why we needed to do this Supplementary number six and now Madam Speaker he’s merely rising to defer it but yet he’s engaging in the debate and I am afraid Madam Speaker that you will not give us a chance to counter what he has said today we will have to wait for the debate. So he’s now clearly anticipating the debate. He is the one who is saying he will defer it so he should not put on this whole speech or debate. A few minutes ago the Prime Minister rose to defer that Supplementary Appropriation and of course on several occasions in this presentation he veered off and spoke about the Finance and Audit Act and so I think it is fair game Madam Speaker since we are now talking about amending this ACT to comment on what he seems to be attempting to do with deferring that bill.”