Opposition Leader comments on SIF scandal

vlcsnap-2013-09-20-09h38m07s150The Social Investment fund has been a hot topic of discussion on the media since allegations of corruption broke out some weeks ago. On Thursday, PUP leader and Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, added his thoughts to the public discussion when he was asked to comment on the  alleged corruption at the Social Investment Fund which has resulted in the dismissal of five employees. Mr Fonseca said that what is most important is the completion of the project for the residents of Dangriga.

vlcsnap-2013-09-20-09h31m47s192Francis Fonseca – Leader of the Opposition:

I’m reluctant to speak on that issue here, standing at the grave of Mr Price, but it is a burning issue; it is a serious matter obviously. Most of all, my main concern is the people of Dangriga are being deprived of their market. They have longed for this project to be completed; vendors are losing money; the people of Dangriga are losing out. So I would like for the government to take this matter very seriously, the prime minister

to get involve and whatever monies are remaining to somehow find a way to making sure that those monies are made very quickly available to the Dangriga town council or to some other contractor that government secures. 

 I understand that there is a process they have to go through; the Social Investment Fund is not our money, so to speak, and so there is a process they need to go through but they need to expedite this process; they need to sit down and talk to the funding agencies and explain to them the urgency of this matter and if they do that then they can move this project forward very quickly and with a sense of urgency, because the only ones really losing right now are the people of Dangriga. It’s very sad and I know there are contract disputes and lawyers involved now, but none of that is helping the people of Dangriga, and that is what we want to see happen.

With regard to the takeover of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives by the UDP majority, the PUP remains adamant about following its plan for that committee.

Francis Fonseca:

We made it clear that obviously we’re not interested in any illegal meeting that’s being called on September 23rd.  We believe that’s an absolute joke. We certainly do not believe that anyone  should lend legitimacy to what the Government is attempting to do, which is to take over the executive oversight of the  Public Accounts Committee.  If we place this in the context of what is happening at the Dangrega Market, it’s almost a joke.  We have this scandal taking place with the Dangriga Market and Social Investment Fund.  Next week Monday on the 23rd, they will be sitting down there talking about things that happened in 2003, ten years ago.  Absolute nonsense!  A Government guided by political desire to damage the Opposition, that’s what it is, not solving any problems for the people of Belize.

Francis  Fonseca says the issue of reform will be key in his upcoming first-ever address on Independence Day as parliamentary leader of the Opposition.

Francis Fonseca:

So we have made it clear.  We are going to the people.  We’re not wasting time with a UDP Government that is not interested in reform.  We are going directly to the people.  We’re travelling across the country, taking our message to the people and our vision and our plan.  PACT is one issue, but we’ll be talking about education reform, health reform, the reform of the economy, job creation, environment, culture, arts.  All of these issues we will be taking directly to the Belizean people, and presenting to them our agenda for reform and change.  That is what I’ll be talking about in the September Independence Day Address, our agenda for change.  

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