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PM Briceno comments on SSB’s proposed loan to Pharmacy Express Ltd.

In a rare Sunday press release, the Ministry of Health and Wellness expressed concerns over a proposed $7 million loan from the Social Security Board (SSB) to Pharmacy Express Limited. The purpose of the loan is for refinancing and inventory purposes. The notice by SSB says that the loan facility is for ten years with both principal and interest payments being made monthly on the declining balance.  The SSB is an autonomous entity and as such, the Cabinet cannot instruct the SSB on what to do. Here is how Prime Minister John Briceno explained it. 

John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Legally, remember, that they are an autonomous body and if Cabinet were to give a position right now, we would be opening up ourselves to a lawsuit and you know that there are certain persons chomping at the bit to be able to come and sue us. So, we cannot say anything right now, but the Ministry of Health has expressed some concerns and they, I think, have written to Social Security and I think other citizens will probably also express their concerns. This shows that the process is working. It starts off, you put in your application, then here’s the investment process group committee from within Social Security that makes a recommendation to the Investment Committee. The Investment Committee then passes on the Board then when the Board agrees then they inform the individual, the company, that it is approved. Then it is publicised. Now to hear back from the people. Remember this is a part of the reforms that was done after the G7 when we were saying that we have to put tighter controls in our money.”