Earlier we brought you the interview with the President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arturo Vasquez who spoke specifically on the Chamber’s concerns surrounding the recent amendments to the PetroCaribe Bill as announced by the Prime Minister. In that same interview, Vasquez told Love News that the BCCI is committed to, quote “support the full implementation of any legislation that embodies the principles of transparency , accountability and good governance already enshrined in FARA and other existing legislation and which strengthens the enforcement of same”, end of quote.
“The Bill as it stands right now goes completely against the Audit and Reform Act. I mean, it says it in black and white “notwithstanding anything contained in the Finance and Audit Reform Act” that is very clear he is saying not withstanding anything that is in there this is what can be done so that goes completely against the Audit and Reform Act and it also goes further to say “and any other law to the contrary”. So it’s really in the Act that it says that we don’t need to follow the Audit and Reform Act at all so that is where we got that from.”
“What sort of discussion is the BCCI having with the Prime Minister in terms of PetroCaribe?”
“Well I think we have responded to the Prime Minister and the response we ended up by saying that we are opened up for dialogue. We had made it very clear, the points we would want to see them address but to be honest I don’t think we are saying anything different from what the other concerned parties are saying; we are all more or less along the same lines. The Prime Minister obviously has heard the cries and I think he is prepared to make some amendments which he announced some of them on Friday but I guess until you see what those amendments are, properly documented as then, I guess there may be more concerns.”
“I believe it is quite clear that when it comes to the PetroCaribe Fund and monies, politics is at play on both sides, how would you respond to the criticism saying that the BCCI is also playing politics?”
“Absolutely not; the BCCI doesn’t play politics but again I think it is unfortunate that in this country we have gotten to a point where everything seems to be politics. A few weeks ago at our AGM and my speech is publicly known that was the point of my speech and it’s unfortunate that whatever we do these days you are either taken as a red or blue and that is what we do; we never dialogue; the message is gone; it’s all about the messenger and not the message. The BCCI will always remain non-partisan. We are not playing politics in any way; we are looking out for the business community and the whole country that is really where we stand.”