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PM touts transparency: UNCAC on the move, Coastal Road contract handed over

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dean barrow pm of belize

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2019. 11:43 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), along with the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) and the Belize Network of N.G.O.’s, recently wrote to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, reminding him of the commitment Belize made when it signed onto and ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) 3 years ago this month.

The unions say that the implementation of UNCAC has stalled and they want to know why. PM Barrow says that the government will address the concerns raised:“As far as I understand the official targets that were required to be met have been met. There are more things to be done and I think the Attorney General made the point that there is some hold up because of a lack of funds, but I have no doubt that indeed the complaint of the Chamber and the N.T.U.C.B. will be addressed by the Attorney General and therefore the government.”

Separately, the Chamber has asked for full details of the one hundred and thirty-three point two million dollar contract for the Coastal Road. The contract was awarded to Imer Hernandez, the relative of former Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. He has won several contracts with G.O.B. but the quality of his work is being questioned. According to the Prime Minister, the Chamber will receive all documents since there is nothing to hide. “Let me just repeat that particular contract was controlled by the British and by the CDB [Caribbean Development Bank] so there is nothing for the government to hide. So I have spoken to the president of the Chamber but I believe that they might have already have gotten the information that they asked for. There is nothing to hide.”

And concerning the Leader of the Opposition claiming that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) wished to check out its projects which were handled by Hernandez, the Prime Minister welcomed it, stating that they oversaw the processes and their approval was key to any contractor being approved, so it would be a case of them “investigating and auditing themselves.”

 

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