On Friday we told you about the Loan Guarantee Motion that sparked feverish debate at the House of Representatives meeting. The sovereign guarantee is for a loan by BTL for U.S. $17.5 million with Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund. One of the Opposition members who raised concerns is Toledo West area representative Oscar Requena who said that with all the millions borrowed by BTL, he wished the schools in his area would see benefits. This attracted a response from Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber, suggesting that the Government has already done enough for the people of Toledo West.
Honourable Oscar Requena, Toledo West representative
“Time after time we keep approving loans to BTL and what the Belizean people are concerned about is Madam Speaker is really the cost, the cost of internet, the cost of calls to the Belizean people if as the Prime Minister have gone on record in this honorable house to say that BTL belongs to the Belizean people why is it that we are not seeing a reduction in cost and we mean a real reduction to internet and certainly to calls that is what the Belizean people want but I want to go further Madam Speaker to say that why is it that after government has claimed that we owned BTL why is it that we still have Corazon High School without internet Mr. Minister of Education, member from Collet, Corazon High School does not have Internet no man this is not fool this is reality, does not have access to a telephone Madam Speaker.”
Honourable Patrick Faber, Collet representative
“My friend from Toledo West mentioned Internet in schools and I don’t why he will even try to raise Corazon Technical High School because it like he is winding me up, this is a high school that is in the very remote, the southernmost high school in this country that he shouldn’t even open his mouth about he was education officer in Toledo and did absolutely nothing for the people of Toledo in terms of education it was when Eden Martinez was representative and I went down there and there were only two high schools in the entire Toledo district and today we have five and there is another one coming. Corazon Creek in the most rural part of Toledo is the state of the art high school complete with solar energy and everything else so his point of not having Internet is null and void you have people that have light around there so am not saying that they don’t deserve better treatment I am one who advocates for that but it’s like he is saying the people there don’t have anything at all then you give them a whole new outfit give them shirt, pants, brief, undershirt, shoes and everything and he will say but they don’t have any neck tie that is how ridiculous that argument is they need a neck tie otherwise they don’t feel complete they are naked without a neck tie.”
The rationale provided by the Government for BTL’s loan is to finance its national broadband programme. But it seems Toledo West may not be in the plans for the telecommunications company owned in majority by the Government of Belize.