Senators this morning debated a loan valued at twenty-four million US dollars. It’s a loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) for the Expansion and Rehabilitation of the Philip Goldson Highway. The loan will provide for the resealing of approximately 25 kilometres of the highway; base failure repairs and construction of new paved shoulders. The money has also been earmarked for the improvement of both vertical and horizontal alignments to address and improve road safety. In their contributions today, UDP Senators described the Briceno Administration as hypocritical. Here is how UDP Senator Philip Willoughby put it.
Senator Philip Willoughby: “We can’t overlook to mention the hypocrisy to some extent because whenever the government speaks to infrastructure it becomes nauseating. Infrastructure connects people. It moves goods and services. Prior to the general elections we’ve heard educated people made remarks, cast statements that we cannot eat streets nor its infrastructure. But again I must say thank you to the government for continuing with this project.”
Senator Isabel Bennett: “It’s rather hilarious. I could remember at a point when Belize seemed to have been just focused on infrastructure and I was saying to myself well these highways would last us a very very long time but before you know it the highways were actually deplorable and much of the monies that were spent having to be given to specific contractors we saw as tax payers that it was not in the best interest of the infrastructure of the country. And so even as I listened just now I thank you Senator Deputizing that you made mention that what we are doing now as a government will actually last a very very long time.”
Senator Kevin Herrera: “I think there should be some audit of contracts that would ensure that the value is there within these contracts. I know that government accounts are audited and should be audited. I know that they’re backlogged but I also think that the contractors, those people who are carrying out these contracts should be audited as well from a government standpoint maybe using third party auditors. I know that the government auditors are pretty tied up with just government audits but I think that these contractors should be audited. Someone perhaps who perhaps should be built into the loan contracts that are being taken on.”