Prime Minister Seeks US$45 Million Loan from Saudi Arabia for New Tertiary-Level Hospital in Belize
During today’s sitting of the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, John Briceno, rose to introduce a loan motion to borrow an estimated 45 million USD. The funds are being sought from the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which established diplomatic ties with Belize last year, through the Saudi Fund for Development. The funds will be used to construct a new tertiary-level hospital on the University of Belize’s campus in Capital City that will also serve as a university hospital. According to Prime Minister Briceno, the Belmopan Hospital and the KHMH are not up to standards. He says the Belmopan Hospital is beyond repair, so the government is seeking to build a new national health facility.
While the government supported the loan motion, the Leader of the Opposition, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, says the UDP does not support building a new facility when countless others are in deplorable condition and lack the adequate resources needed to serve the people.
Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “As far as the reality of building a tertiary level, state of the art medical facility my problem, the opposition’s problem, the medical experts not UDP medical experts medical experts from a cross section of political affiliation they are saying we have a public health facility crisis. Healthcare is a human right, every Belizean deserves adequate healthcare. We cannot provided that right now. We don’t have the machines whether it’s CT scan, MRI, people go to hte public health hospitals to die. The Prime Minister admitted to it he said yes Western Region is terrible, you know KHMH is terrible. So what comfort should the Belizean people take in borrowing $90 million dollars not to fix our ailing public healthcare system but to build another building in essence because we haven’t seen a comprehensive detail of how that $90 million dollars is going to be spent. So we don’t know whether that is all construction , whether that includes the equipment that is needed, we don’t know what that has to do with staffing.”
Reporter: But perhaps the idea is to move those at Western Regional to this new hospital when that comes on stream.
Moses Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Again that is to me still not how we should borrow. We should borrow to take care of the entire public healthcare system so that $90 million even if t was $100 million should be broken down to be dispersed to the four regions in my humble opinion.”