Guatemalan company BINARQ was appointed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Southern Command to build the Forward Operating Base at Hunting Caye, but after criticism by the Belizean people, the project was suspended.
On Thursday, Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, gave an update on the options the Government has for the continued construction.
One, that the construction of the Forward Operating Base continues under the existing contractual arrangements with BINARQ, and no change in their workforce configuration.
Option 2 is for the Government of Belize to complete the construction of the Forward Operating Base.
These two options were presented to Cabinet on Tuesday by my Ministry, and Cabinet has made a decision to go with option 2, which is for the Government of Belize to continue and complete the construction of the Forward Operating Base.”
In light of the recent rebuff of the U.S. by Belize over the Ebola cruise ship threat, the question can be asked if this is payback from Washington to Belmopan.
According to the Prime Minister however the two events are not correlated.
“I don’t think so. I’m not sure in terms of the sequencing. Certainly we knew of the difficulties with the Guatemalan contractor before the Ebola incident
The decision to say to us, ‘Look. Either you allow the Guatemalans to continue, or you pay for it yourself,’ did come after that.
I Hope I am not being naive, but I know that the President of the United States made this powerful speech saying that his policy is that right makes might, and not might makes right. I take him at his word and I therefore am certain that one thing has nothing to do with the other.”
Negotiations are ongoing as the company weighs introducing Belizean workers for the Guatemalans who failed to be properly documented.
The estimated cost of the project is 1.6 million, and it is expected to be completed in 3 months time.