While that appropriation bill did not see much debate in the house, a bill that did see debate was one to approve a loan from Taiwan which wants a sovereign guarantee by government for Belize Telemedia Ltd.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
This is the International Cooperation and Development Fund of the Republic of China Taiwan loan guarantee Motion 2018 in favor of Belize Telemedia Limited. I move where BTL is a private company where’s majority shares in BTL are together held by the government of Belize and by the Belize Social Security Board, where’s BTL is the desired of borrowing funds from the International cooperation and development fund Taiwan ICDF to assist in the financing of its national broad band plan program and where’s the Taiwan ICDF is prepared to offer BTL such financing in the amount not to exceed 17 million and 500 thousand united states dollars under certain terms and conditions including the provision by the government of Belize of an irrevocable, unconditional loan guarantee to the Taiwan ICDF in favor of BTL supported by the revolution of the house where section 6 of the finance and audit reformat also requires that the government of Belize seek prior approval of the national assembly by way of resolution to offer such a loan guarantee.
Hon Kareem Musa, Caribbean Shores
Speaker I rise to make my contributions to the debate on this particular motion which is to borrow some US 17.5 million dollars or 36 million dollars Belize, close to 36 million dollars Belize. Madam Speaker, I, sorry 35 million Belize dollars it’s 17 million. Madam Speaker I cannot help but recognize the irony in this particular motion because I would never have though that I would see the day that this prime minister would actually advance such a motion after he has in the past 10 years condemn the securing of a loan by way of a sovereign government guarantee for a private company and I know the prime minister likes to bob and weave and duck and dodge as to whether BTL is a private company or a company owned by the Belizean people and whenever it is politically expedient for him it’s a private company I cannot tell you how much my son is making and then when he wants to come to this house and riel his people up, oh it is owned by the Belizean people. I don’t know how he continue to bob and weave and what we have before us today if you read the motion it says a private company. So the same things that this prime minister has condemn in the past he is now asking the Belizean people or asking this house to approve a loan for a sovereign with a sovereign guarantee by the government. I thought I would never see this day. It means that if young prince Anwar and the other board members at BTL cannot pay this debt to Taiwan that the people of Belize will once again be on the hook to pay for this company that we already payed hand over fist for 560 million we have payed already you know, madam speaker this isn’t the first time that we are coming to this house for loans on top of loans on top of loans first it was 3g, then 4g, then LTE now broadband fibrotic. It begs the question, madam speaker, it begs the question, what did we pay 557 million for?
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
among the several things that were said, was that a government guarantee for a private company ‘is a government guarantee is a government guarantee’ as though there is something intrinsically wrong with the fact of a government guarantee as though it has nothing to do with for what purpose a government guarantee is being offered and to whom again, hoist on his own petard caught in his own trap the member for Caribbean shores in fact no I think this was the point dilated on by his father, either one of them or perhaps both of them said well UHS was a private company too and so you cannot make any distinction in terms of the guarantee they offered for UHS and the guarantee we’re prepared to offer for BTL. Well UHS was a private company privately owned and controlled. BTL is a private company owned and controlled by the people and Government of Belize and the purpose of the guarantee that government wishes to enter into is for the improvement of the product, of the service that BTL is offering to the consumers precisely so. It is not as in the case of the guarantee you offered for UHS for Dr. Lizwaraga and Luke Espat and Dr. Atanacio Cobb and those who were in fact cronies of your government and were being facilitated with public monies and public commitment just so that they could make a private profit.