Last week, invoices from the Government’s Smart Stream were leaked to the media. Three sets were leaked and those documents primarily were related to payments made to Barrow and Williams LLP, Barrow and Company and Lois Young and Company. The leak came after Prime Minister John Briceno stated that he is consulting with officials from the Ministry of Finance to whether or not to release the actual files that show payments to these companies. This was after the United Democratic Party refused to accept Briceno’s statements that millions of dollars were paid to these companies in legal fees. The former Prime Minister, Dean Barrow of Barrow and Williams has vehemently denied the PM’s claims. Attorney Lois Young told Love News that (quote) As far as I recall, I received legal fees totalling about $1.5 M from the time of the BTL Acquisition up until I stopped practising law in August 2012. Lastly, I was an independent lawyer and divorced from Dean Barrow for over 20 years.” (end of quote) Today, PM Briceno stressed to the media that there was no official leak.
John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: There’s no official leak. So I want to make it very clear to you. There’s no official leak. I have never leaked any such thing from Smartstream. I don’t even have access to Smartstream. I have explained it once and I have explained it many times, and I will explain it once again that the Smartstream system is not made for public consumption. That is dealing with the private affairs for different persons within Government and individuals and it is not something that is made available to the public. During the UDP time you never used to get any leaks but now you do get leaks because obviously there are still members of the previous Government that are there that wouldn’t want to find ways how to embarrass our Government.