Headline — 09 December 2017
House meeting today

House meets, but not to debate the over $90 million payment to the Belize Bank for UHS

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Dec. 8, 2017–When the Government of Belize announced that it was holding a meeting of the House of Representatives today, Friday, many assumed that it was to vote on the $90 million payment the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had ordered the Government to make to the Belize Bank to honor a guarantee for a loan to the Universal Health Services (UHS) in 2006, which had ballooned from $33.5 million to over 90 million because of accrued interest.

Today’s meeting of the House, however, will not include that much-anticipated debate, but other matters will be dealt with. There are two motions that will be tabled — one for a US$40 million loan from The Republic of China (Taiwan) to be disbursed in 4 equal payment installments over four years from 2017 to 2020, and two, to reappoint Contractor General Godwin Arzu for a further two years.

Bills for second reading, which means they will be debated, are the Belize National AIDS Commission (Amendment) Bill that will change the composition of the Commission and recognize tuberculosis as a focal point of the Commission’s strategic objectives; the Stake Bank Cruise Docking Facility Development (Amendment) Bill; the Water Industry (Amendment Bill); and also, the Petroleum Operations (Maritime Zone Moratorium) Bill, which is to impose a moratorium on offshore drilling.

There will also be the first reading of a General Revenue Supplementary Appropriation (2016/2017) Bill; and International Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Bill.

It is not clear whether these will be taken through all three readings in this one sitting.

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Eden Cruz

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