The Petroleum Revenue Management Fund Bill – by all accounts it’s a model piece of legislation designed to keep Politicians and their exigencies away from precious petroleum revenue. And even though the Opposition cried that it had not been consulted sufficiently, the House approved it last week and today every Senator spoke favorably of it. Leader of government business Dickie Bradley said it protects what is priceless and Business Senator Godwin Hulse says he wishes there were more legislation like it.
Senator Richard “Dickie” Bradley,
“We don’t have a lot of things in Belize. We have the barrier reef, we have Blue Hole, we have wonderful mountains, we have the best people in the world and we now have oil to add to that. We need to protect it. Just like how you want to protect baboons and protect Blue Hole, that needs to be protected, let us protect the money.”
Senator Godwin Hulse,
“I wish that the protection and the layers of security embodied therein were practiced with respect to the consolidated revenue fund which this year topped $678.5 million. Those levels of security built into this would not know the word corruption, mismanagement, mishandling of funds, those words would not be in our vocabulary at all and perhaps we would have been rivaling Singapore but its an important start because it sets out a precedent which I am sure will find its way into legislation dealing with finance in this country. And so when I read it, I felt a little happy because the work I’ve been doing over many many many years, my prime focus on accountability, is captured in this document.”
And while he later said he loved the bill, Hulse worried that for all its protections it makes no provisions to ensure that Belize earns a fair share from petroleum. He also said that it makes no provision for interest returns which are remitted and can go into the largely un-regulated consolidated revenue fund.