Features — 03 May 2013 — by Adele Ramos

Chamber and NTUCB to get seats on BIL

Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced Monday that he will increase the number of directors on the board of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) from 7 to 9, to accommodate the inclusion of representatives from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Barrow made the announcement in light of allegations made by the Opposition People’s United Party that BIL is a “hustle vehicle” for the ruling United Democratic Party.

In his response to Barrow’s budget speech, Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca had said in March that, “We should all take note of BIL. I want to sound the alarm bells now. I expect this to be a UDP-hustle vehicle that will seek to avoid the rules and regulations of Government. Why is this private company necessary to carry out the work of Government? Will this company be competing with the private sector? Who will it be purchasing materials and supplies from? Who will manage this company?”

Barrow said that the state-owned company, which he described as “a project-executing unit on steroids”—has been set up to manage capital projects, and specifically sporting and multi-purpose facilities, and the intent is to establish at least one per district.

He said that the Ministry of Works is already overburdened with current projects, and BIL will recruit new staff to execute the projects, which, he said, will be chosen by Cabinet after available posts have been put out to tender.

Funds that Belize receives under the PetroCaribe Initiative with Venezuela will be used to help finance projects, along with domestic borrowing.

Barrow said that “everything will be above-board.”

Government information indicates that $60 million has been identified to fund the projects.

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