Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and PUP Cayo South Area Representative, Julius Espat, officially filed a claim against the Minister of Finance, Honourable Dean Barrow, against the petro caribe program today. As we’ve reported, that money comes from sales of fuel imported into Belize from Venezuela, for which Government only has to pay half, while getting the other half on credit at very favourable terms.
In the claim, Espat wants the Supreme Court to follow up on several matters. One: To stop Prime Minister Barrow from spending the millions of Petrocaribe money. Two: For the court to declare the spending unconstitutional and illegal because Barrow is spending the funds without Parliaments approval. And three: For Barrow to explain how the money was spent and for receipts to be shown.
It’s a very tall order and a bold move from the Public Accounts Committee but late this evening, the Government of Belize issued its own response to the suit filed citing that and we quote “the government of Belize deplores the suit filed by the opposition PUP against the Petrocaribe Program, as an abuse of the process of the court. This is an unpatriotic attempt to play politics with a breakthrough program that is vital national financial and developmental importance, in truth has nothing to do with the law.” End of quote.
The release continues to state that the “supposed legal bases on which the PUP court action is stated as being brought are thus, on any reckoning, utterly without merit.
According to GOB’s release, all matters brought forward by the PUP, have already been taken care of, or are in the process of being taken care of, by the National Assembly.
For this reason says GOB, they absolutely reject the Opposition’s attempt to derail or throw mud on record breaking progress that quote “This administration’s handling of the petro Caribe funds has achieved”. End quote.
According to GOB, apart from keeping the Belizean people informed on how the Petrocaribe money is spent, they also give account to their Venezuelan partners as to the purposes for and manner in which, the Petrocaribe monies are spent.
Whether the Chief Justice will have this suit stand in court, is yet to be seen.
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