Fonseca Says Special Purpose Vehicle Is a "Hustle Vehicle" The Leader of the Opposition also had some choice words about Belize Infrastructure Limited, the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle that the Government has set up to execute a 60 million dollar sports infrastructure project- including a new Civic Center.
It is to be chaired by the Minister of Works Rene Montero, with Minister of State in the Ministry of Sports Herman Longsworth as his co-chair. The Leader of the opposition called it a hustling vehicle:
Hon. Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition
"I expect this to be a UDP hustle vehicle that will seek to avoid the rules and regulations of Government. Why, Mr. Speaker - and the social and economic partners we've met with asked these questions as well - why is this private company necessary to carry out the work of Government? Mr. Speaker, we have every reason to be very skeptical and cynical about the objectives of this company. As I said, for the UDP it's always about the show, the cutting of the ribbon, the shovel. The Member for Caribbean Shores, he likes to shovel."
Hon. John Saldivar - Area Representative, Belmopan
"What you are seeing this new vehicle of investment in sports infrastructure that the Prime Minister and this Government is putting - what you are seeing, as soon as you see it, Mr. Speaker, as soon as they see it - sorry for referring to him directly - they see dollar signs. That's what they see, dollar signs. I will remind, as my good friend, the Member from Albert is reminding me, 5 million dollars nearly they gave to the contractor for Marion Jones before 1 shovel - you were talking about shovels just now - before one shovel was turned, so that when we came into power in 2009, we had to start on the Marion Jones from a deficit of millions."
Government has not fully explained how it will raise the 60 million dollars for B-I-L, and the Mexican government may still be on the hook for at least a portion of it...
Barrow’s BIL; $60 Million pumped into state owned private company?
BIL is the acronym for the Belize Infrastructure Company Limited which is a recently established state owned company operating from the Ministry of Works. The company will carry out sixty million dollars of infrastructural projects; work that should be carried out by the Ministry of Works. The articles of association show that senior officials are shareholders and directors on the BIL board. Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, sounded alarm bells about BIL at today’s budget debate.
Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition
“This brings me Mister Speaker back to BIL, Belize Infrastructure Company Limited, which the honorable member for Queen Square described in his budget presentation as a newly formed, newly registered, wholly government of Belize owned private company; the special purpose vehicle that will create jobs, stimulate demand, purchase private sector material and supplies and generally raise that tide that will float all Belizean boats. Now as I said earlier Mr. Speaker, it is fairly easy to dismiss this company as more hot air; consistent with five years of empty rhetoric. But I think to do so would be a mistake. We should all, all Belizeans, take note of BIL. I want to sound the alarm bells. I want to be the first to sound the alarm bells. I expect this to be a U.D.P. hustle vehicle that will seek to avoid the rules and regulations of government. Why Mister Speaker and the Social and Economic Partners we met with ask this question as well. Why is this private company necessary to carry out the work of government? Will this company be competing with the private sector? Who will it be purchasing materials and supplies from? Who will manage this company? Will the Contractor General and the Auditor General have oversight of this company? Mister Speaker these are important questions. Will it be subject to the finance and audit reform act? Mister Speaker, we must see the Belize Infrastructure Company Limited for what it is the latest in a long line of U.D.P. political gimmicks. And you know Mr. Speaker I took a look at the articles of association and memorandum of association of the company and you know the chairman of this company, I don’t know if he is still the Minister of Works or now he is just the chairman of Belize Infrastructure Company Limited. But he is the chairman of the board of directors, Honorable Rene Montero, director and chairman. Will you be running the Minister of Works or will you pay responsible for this company? Why do we need a private company for works that the Ministry of Works should be able to and can carry out? And they are injecting sixty million dollars, as we understand it, into this private company chaired by the Minister of Works. The co-chair is the honorable Herman Longsworth, the member for Albert; he’s the co chair.”
The company will also be lending and investing monies and seemingly making profits which can be shared with directors most of whom are already in the employ of the government.