By BBN Staff: At today’s Special Sitting of the Senate, Senator Eamon Courtenay referred to a bill presented which will give town councils the authority to create companies through which to borrow money.
Courtney alluded that the San Ignacio/ Santa Elena Town council are trying to pay for the new town council building from subventions of government but there is not enough money.
The town council has reportedly applied at the National Bank of Belize to seek a loan to pay for the completion of the building.
Courtenay pointed to the construction company, Johann Construction, which is reportedly owned by Rolando Montero, brother of Cayo Central area representative Rene Montero.
According to Courtenay, the National Bank has no difficulty in approving the loan but they don’t have the authority to borrow and the matter is urgent since construction has started.
“Them di tek the Belizean people fu cunumunu,” Courtenay told the sitting.
Courtenay also referenced a UDP sign that already indicates the National Bank is already financing the new town council building even before the bill has been passed.
Courtenay said the bill lacks sufficient transparency and accountability measures. He said there are no provisions to audit the companies that the town councils would set up to borrow funds.
“…the very same mechanisms that were used for the cities should form a path for the legislation that will be passed for the town councils,” Courtenay stated. He stressed the importance of including measures for transparency.
“They should be required to have mandatory audits,” Courtenay added.
Courtenay debated his position: “The bill as drafted does not require monies raised by a town council to be deposited in a specific fund established by law. It is worse because when you form a company, that company is not the town council; and there is nothing in the town council act that regulates any account by a company formed by a town council.”
He ended by saying that the bill is going in the right direction but it needs to be done in the right way.
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