Features — 10 January 2018 — by Colin Hyde
UHS decision looming

As expected, the PM, at the first sitting of the National Assembly for the New Year, on January 5, introduced a motion for a bill to appropriate funds to pay $90 million to Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Bank. But there was no hurry in the PM’s game, the discussion on the crucial bill being set aside for discussion for the next sitting.

Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber, predicted that the first meeting would be anti-climactic. Faber told Channel Seven’s Courtney Weatherburne on December 21: “I think that it is the intention of the Prime Minister to introduce the motion and then nothing really says that he has to push it through all the readings in one sitting and I believe it is the intention for him to just introduce it and then at a subsequent meeting the debate on the merits of it will actually be made and then the voting will take place.”

Of course, no one would have been surprised if PM Barrow and his UDP government had decided to push the bill through in one sitting, and set it for a vote. Absolutely no one would have been surprised because nothing surprises anyone in Belize anymore. However, best bets were that we would be in for a couple months’ worth of real high level “turkey fighting.”

When the news broke that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had decided against us, high-level government officials came out swinging at the decision of our country’s highest court. And many of them, high-level government officials, vowed to say NO when the matter is put to a vote in the House of Representatives. But one top-level politician belonging to the main opposition party came out straightaway and said the vote has to be YES, to pay.

There have been various explanations of the CCJ/UHS decision for regular Belizeans, so we can better understand some of the many sides in this case. But it’s like the tip of an iceberg. So much remains in the dark, under murky waters. Still, the starter’s whistle has blown, so it’s game on.

You can bet that regular folk will be squirming when the political actors step on to the high wire at the next sitting of the House. But there is one male civilian, and maybe quite a few of his minions, who will have no jitters that one or two or three red or blue Wallendas might fall. That’s because every hour, every minute, every second of every day, his cash register continues ringing—chi-ching—chi-ching.

Belizean elders used to tell their children that money doesn’t grow on trees, and you can’t make a dollar out of fifteen cents. This UHS saga has proved those lessons to be ignorance, a pack of lies.

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