In the last House of Representatives meeting, the Opposition brought up the issue of the Hunting Caye Coast Guard Facility being built by Guatemalans.
Hon. John Saldivar, the Minister of National Security had stood up and said that the facility is a gift from the US, and the Guatemalan company building the structure was stipulated by the US. The Minister further said that it is a matter of looking a gift horse in the mouth.
That hasn’t set well with most Belizeans, including the Prime Minister who said in the house that some gifts may need to be rejected in the future with those types of strings attached.
On Thursday, Hon. Saldivar further commented on the matter , posting on Facebook that “I was briefed on these projects when I became the Minister of National Security and of course it was of concern to me when I learnt that a Guatemalan company had been awarded the contracts. However, there were at least two things I had to consider. Firstly, the project was already underway when I took over, and secondly, the US had its procurement guidelines which it had already made known to the Government of Belize and which our government had already agreed to respect. That agreement to respect the US procurement guidelines and allow the US to choose its contractor, was given by the Government of Belize on October 29, 2007 in a communiqué issued from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Who was the government in 2007? The same PUP who now say that if they were the government (God Forbid) they would never have allowed a Guatemalan to construct our base.”
Our sources show that the first Hunting Caye contract was signed on September 26, 2011. The San Pedro depot was 27 September 2011, one day later.
However, the controversial Hunting Caye contract, which is for the Forward Operating Base, was signed with the Guatemalan contractor on August 10, 2012.
Hon. John Saldivar was the Minister of National Security as of March 2012.