A report on the cost cutting measures reportedly commissioned by the Government of Belize and done by a group of 7, including senior union representatives and officers has been receiving much scrutiny. The report advises the Prime Minister on areas where the government can cut back on expenditure.
One section of that report is on advertising which claims that Wave radio, owned and operated by the United Democratic Party, received more than half a million dollars in advertising monies for the year 2013 alone. The legal owners of that firm, according to a document from the General Registry in Belize City, are Dean O. Barrow, Douglas Singh, and Henry Young.
The UDP management said the report was inaccurate, but in an interview with the Financial Secretary of Belize Joseph Waight, he said the figure sounds about right.
“Yes that was in the report and as far as I know it is accurate. I’ve asked them to bring the copies of the Smart stream invoices, but I was told by my people that the numbers are real.
Remember it’s spread across a number of Ministries and Departments. It’s not emanating from one Department only. I really would have to check the numbers to see where it is coming from. I was assured by the unions that they has basis to put the numbers in, and when they tell me something like that, you have to believe them.”
That interview was conducted Tuesday morning and by 3:00 pm on that same day the Ministry of Finance sent out a press release saying that “The MOF wishes to clarify that the figure of $568,453 mentioned in the Report as being GOB’s Advertisement Cost paid to Wave Radio for the Year 2013 is incorrect, as it actually represents the payments to this media house for a three year period.” That is for the years 2011 to mid 2014.
The press release also said that the Committee to Evaluate and Advise on the Cost Saving Measures, which drafted that report, has been given an undertaking to the Ministry of Finance to correct this error and issue and amendment report.