CHRISTIAN WORKERS UNION
Affiliated to: National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB)
107 B Cemetery Road
Belize City, Belize C.A.
P.O. Box 533
The Christian Worker’s Union denounces the PetroCaribe Loans Act 2015 as lacking in transparency, and accountability and for its attempt to validate and legalize outright illegal actions that go against the laws of Belize.
Belize will recall that in 2010 there was an amendment to the Finance and Audit Act, which aimed at increasing oversight of public finances governance.
Despite these amendments and call for better oversight of our monies, this recent PetroCaribe Loans Act flies in the face of any measures to be accountable and transparent with the monies of the people.
Once it takes effect, this Act will:
- bypass the National Assembly, where approval would have otherwise been obtained beforehand and the nation would have had an opportunity to be informed about public spending,
- frustrates Auditor General accounting of PetroCaribe funding as it will not be part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to be tracked by the Auditor General;
- removes PetroCaribe spending from being subject to the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act 2010
- bestows on GOB with power to borrow ANY amounts to be used “without limitations”; and
- also validates, legalizes and legitimizes previously illegal and unconstitutional Government conduct for the past two and a half years.
Despite the Finance Minister’s justification why he does not wish to go back to the National Assembly each time to obtain approval for monies over $10Million, the truth is the Bill was really designed to defeat the present case brought against it by the Opposition challenging Government’s violation of the law thus it being made retrospective to September, 1, 2012.
Already some Bz $286,166,698.78 Million dollars has been spent from September 2012 to February 2015 by our Government without complying with the Finance and Audit Act, and with no accountability to the National Assembly. The lame excuse of not being able to tell oil prices and thus the amounts available for loan to the government, flies in the face of good sense! It is not possible that our Government can enter any agreement, contract or cooperation that violates our laws or our Constitution, which requires monies to be place in the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Government’s recent actions reveal the highhandedness with which it abuses the law and exercise its parliamentary power not to create better governance but to sanction its illegal, unethical and immoral conduct when dealing with the people’s affairs. CWU as a representative entity of the Workers in this country call on the Government to repeal this Act and to apologize to this nation for the promotion and sanction of the breach of our laws. As workers we must all be concerned because this loan, which is payable over 25 year places the burden of payment on us and our children. Not only our working generation will pay the price but our next generation of employees will be yoked with it as well.
CWU call on all other unions to denounce this Act and to unite to demand the repeal of this law. CWU Members to remain vigilant about this issue and to stand ready to participate in the discourse as the monies obtained in by these loans will be paid by us Workers. In the same vein CWU place on the record that it distances itself from the decision of the Social Partner Senator, Ray Davis, who represents the Unions, to abstain from a vote on this critical issues as it does not reflect the position of CWU, which endorses a Senate vote against the PetroCaribe Loans Bill.