HallMark Advisory and the GOB

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“I can say categorically that Ambassador Mark Espat has been appointed as an ambassador for economic affairs without any kind of remuneration – he gets no salary at all, no pay for that. With respect to the debt negotiation team; this is where the member gets into trouble. If he had the wit and sense and if he had perhaps studied his standing orders he might have frame his questions differently because you see as he has put it down the short answer is that Mark Espat also gets absolutely no money, no pay, no remuneration for his work with the debt renegotiation team. There is a company called Hallmark Advisory Limited and it is with that entity that the government has entered into a contract. As I have said, if you had the wit and sense you might have frame your question in such a way that I could have given you the answer. But since you ask specifically whether Mark Espat is being paid the short answer is no. Now you can come back next time and ask me about the professional rates of fees that a part of the contract with Hallmark Advisory and I will be more than happy to give the answer to you, but you know how ears hard pickny have to go to school two times – wheel and come again.”

“I had absolutely no intention of not disclosing to the Belizean public the rates of remuneration for Hallmark Advisory. In fact I was going to ensure that as soon as the House Meeting is finish that I would have on camera made the disclosure to Channel 7 and Channel 5 and to all. Now Mr. Speaker, indeed Hallmark Advisory, a company that registered at 16.5 miles is an outfit that is owed by Mark Espat. I said that nobody is trying to conceal anything member. I indicated to you that if you had only had the wit and sense to know how to frame your question – you would have had the answer before I would have given it to the press, but since you have abused your opportunity – the privilege given to you to raise something on the adjournment let me make clear Mr. Speaker that Hallmark Advisory has a 7 month contract with the government of Belize, this is not open, it’s for 7 months and Hallmark Advisory a company – you can find out how many persons Hallmark employs, that’s a matter for you. Hallmark Advisory is being paid at the rate of $20,000 per month for the 7 months – that’s a grand total of $140,000 for an enterprise. You talk about not wanting the Cabinet to know; Of course the Cabinet knows. For an enterprise for the magnitude of this debt restructuring exercise where we are talking about 1.1 billion dollars that we must restructure because of this country having been unconscionably saddled with it by those on the other side. The bottom line is that paying Hallmark Advisory $140,000 for this exercise is absolutely getting value for money and that is the way the UDP operates. It is not like the PUP who sold the member for Cayo South that Chief Justice’s residence – a legacy.”

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