Last night we showed you some figures leaked to us from inside the Orange Walk Town Hall which shows that for the past two months the Council has been spending more money than it makes.

Just to recap the important statistics, in May the Council pulled in total revenues of $165,357.78 but spent a total of $176,090.21 for a deficit of $10,732.43.

From that $165,357.78 the Council paid out a total of $102,161.76 in personal emoluments. $270.00 was spent on maintenance of parks and playgrounds, $108.50 was spent on drains and culverts and $47.25 was spent on maintaining the market.

Now we dont know about you, but when you have a Council which is fundamentally bankrupt paying $8000 in allowances for one month while it can only spend $108.50 on drains and culverts all over town, something is wrong…very wrong.

Today we spoke to PUP Councilor Kevin Bernard and asked him if the news that the Council is bankrupt came as a surprise to him, since he is supposed to be on the inside, so to speak.

kevinKevin Bernard - PUP Councilor OWTC

“What happen really is that the issue with the council being broke do come as a surprise to us, but it goes back to some of our demands for some of our request for umpteen times that we have been making to the Mayor, to the Administrator, for openness to the financial record. They may tell you that we get indeed some little profit and loss statement here and there, but when we are asking for the details, the nitty gritty, the people want to understand exactly what is making up a figure within the statement. If we are not seeing exactly on what these people are spending on then it boils down to now that we are in this crisis, we are face with a crisis where now the council is really cash trapped and cannot take themselves away, they have to be borrowing or are trying to fake government to bail them out on another issue. I think these are some of the things we’ve been fighting and continue to fight.”

According to Bernard, while he and the other PUP Councilors have consistently demanded access to the financials of the Council they have been kept in the dark, but now the Mayor has granted access, even if only very limited.

Kevin Bernard - PUP Councilor OWTC

“What we did yesterday, first of all in the meeting, we open any voice on concerns regarding the same issue of the council being heard that we are cash trapped. One of the demands also is for open transparency, accessibility to the financial records, issues that we’ve been hearing, allegations that we’ve been hearing that vehicles have been sold to the administrator, come on, these things are not things that have been mentioned to us councillors, we are elected official elected from this town, and for us to not know that really begs the question what is really happening and apart form that one of the issues I brought up to the Mayor yesterday because prior to the meeting we did write in based on the profit and loss statement, I picked up a few of the things I wanted to query on, I e-mailed the Mayor and I asked him for certain reports. At yesterday’s meeting he did mention to us that he will grant me access to this information but I cannot take them to from the council, I must go in to the council and see exactly what I needed to see. So I said ok no problem I can do that, I will go in on Tuesday, I will sit down with the administrator and I will leave all my queries and I would to get all the answers that’s exactly what I will do.”

And of course the obvious question is if theres nothing to hide then why all the secrecy.

Kevin Bernard - PUP Councilor OWTC

“If we are here as councillors, elected officials, and asking the demands. Some of these requests are not only ours as PUP councillors, we are elected by the people of Orange Walk, and the people are asking “What is happening? What is going on in the Orange Walk Town Council?” for them not to want us to say that yes you can come in, you can get the information but they do not want you to take that information out then it is obviously have things to hide. These information is public information, public knowledge is public money, we are spending tax payers money, the Orange Walkenos money, Why is it that the Mayor and the Administrator and his other councillors refuse to allow us the opposition councillors access to these information and that for us is why we continuously demand. And there are several letters written to the mayor, several E-mails I have written to the mayor. At last night meeting I brought that up I told him why is it then that I have to come in to this meeting last night and ask for the same thing again and then you will tell me that I can come in on Tuesday when all my E-mail have been requesting for similar information. A simple E-mail reply could have said yes councillor you have access to the information come in get the information, simple thing as that.”

Tomorrow well have much more on the state of finances at the Orange Walk Town Council. Be sure to tune in.

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