A letter addressed to the Central Bank Governor, Joy Grant and dated September 26, 2016, whilst she was still the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), has surfaced. Before we get to the contents of that letter, however, we bring back Grant’s statement made on Wednesday, July 10 during a press conference at the Ramada Princess Hotel.
Joy Grant – Governor, Central Bank of Belize: “I want to go back to the memo because what the memo says Mr. Ysaguirre said there may be, he did not say that there was fraud and that is not in the document, that was not printed but I want to be clear to everyone that he said that maybe, he did not say that there was a fraud. Now as was said by the Prime Minister we the Central Bank look at financial institutions, there are certain guidelines, fiduciary guidelines and other things set up like liquidity and nonperforming loans, etc. and those are the things we look at. We do not look at real estate, we do not look at fraud issues in this country.”
As you heard in this interview, Grant says that the then Governor of the Central Bank, Glenford Ysaguirre, had only indicated that there ‘may be’ corruption involved in the Sittee River Wildlife Reserve project which is tied into the Sanctuary Bay development. The letter, however, goes further than just a ‘may be’. The letter starts off by introducing one of the investors and residents of Sanctuary Bay to Grant, explaining that the resident, Thomas Herskowitz, who has information on a ‘massive violations of our Foreign Exchange Regulations by the principals and developer of the SRWR real estate development project. Now, does that sound like a may be? It doesn’t to us but to add even more to the matter of Governor Grant dismissing the concern that Ysaguirre registered, the note ends by stating, quote, “We believe Mr Herskowitz to be a credible witness who has a lot of compelling evidence that may be of interest to the FIU.” End of quote. Fast forward almost three years later and Governor Grant says nothing was done. It was not passed on to her successor at the FIU nor was any action taken because they do not look into the real estate fraud.