Petition sponsor: Association of Concerned Belizeans (ACB) www.acb.org.bz
To Lord Michael Ashcroft and the Belize Bank Ltd.
The undersigned petitioners appeal to you to return to the People of Belize, the US$20 Million which was intended for poverty alleviation and low cost housing but was instead used to repay a debt to the Belize Bank Ltd. This was contrary to a legal Court Undertaking given by the Solicitor General of Belize in a Supreme Court case in which the Belize Bank Ltd is an interested party and therefore fully aware of the existence of this Undertaking.
We are very much pro-business and welcome foreign investment however (i) our love of country, (ii) a keen desire to maintain a socially responsible business community, and (iii) our respect for the rule of law, demand that we take this stand.
We highlight below the salient points as we understand the chain of events:
* On December 9th, 2004, the former Prime Minister of Belize, Said Musa, executed an unlimited guarantee in favour of the Belize Bank Ltd. (BBL) for a privately owned hospital called Universal Health Services (UHS).
* By March 23rd 2007 the outstanding debt from UHS to BBL had reached $33 Million. The former Prime Minister of Belize paid off the debt which he had obligated the country of Belize to when he gave the sovereign guarantee, with a loan from the same BBL. This loan, made in the name of Belize was in contravention of the Finance and Audit Reform Act 2005 of the Laws of Belize.
* General elections in Belize on February 7, 2008, resulted in a new Prime Minister, the Hon Dean Barrow. Shortly after taking office he advised the nation that US$10 Million of a US$20 Million grant from Venezuela gifted to the people of Belize for the alleviation of poverty was used to repay the debt with BBL. A few days later it was revealed that in similar fashion a grant of US$10 Million from the Republic of China on Taiwan also gifted to the people of Belize, was used for the same purpose. Both grants were appropriated contrary to the stated purposes agreed with the donor countries.
We the undersigned submit this petition to recoup the US$20 Million that was intended to help the poor and under-privileged people in our country. Our demand is in the context of:
1. The purpose for which the funds were intended.
2. Awareness by BBL that the funds were not intended to repay the UHS debt.
3. Awareness by BBL of the undertaking to the Courts not to repay the UHS debt until the pending Court Action was completed.