FINNEGAN OUTRAGEOUS SCANDAL
It is a major scandal, in a government full to the brim and overflowing with scandals. As with most of the scandals in this worthless UDP government it has to do with money. Since February 2008 the so-called Honourable Michael Finnegan has been the Minister of Housing.
In 2008, the new UDP government demanded that Belize Bank return a payment of thirty million dollars made by the PUP toward a loan to prevent Healthcare hospital from collapsing.
The Barrow government accused Said Musa, former Prime Minister of stealing thirty million dollars which was a gift from Venezuela to the PUP government. Although the government knew the money was paid to the Belize Bank, Prime Minister Barrow got the then acting Director of Prosecutions to charge Musa and Ralph Fonseca for stealing the money. When the case went to court it was thrown out as a false case without any evidence.
The UDP received the thirty million dollars and claimed it would be used for housing. Within ten months the money was gone. It was divided up among the UDP Ministers for their constituencies. Few if any houses were built, but all the monies disappeared. There has been no audit of the housing department to account for such a large amount as thirty million dollars.
If Minister Finnegan was a good Minister who wanted to help Belizeans get decent houses, he and Barrow could have done so. Instead he built a handful of plycem houses for about ten thousand dollars each. These can be seen in the backyards of some properties, built solely to get votes from poor people.
In fact at the rate of thirty thousand dollars for a house in 2008, the thirty million would have built nine hundred and fifty houses. In fact, much more as the government does not pay taxes for cement, steel, pipes, bathroom fixtures, zincs and other materials.
Imagine, the Honourable Finnegan would have a proud legacy of building over one thousand houses in his first term 2008-2013. But no, like his Prime Minister and his other short righted Ministers, they prefer to keep the poor people in their divisions rather than allow them and their children to live in a nice new housing area with space and trees and playgrounds and new shops, new schools, churches and recreation.
All these years the UDP could have improved the lives of poor people but such short sighted and low level politicians are the types that keep people poor so they can give them hand-outs and keep them poor in ghettos.
But this story is not the only scandal attached to honourable loud mouth Minister Finnegan. The other scandal equally involves Finnegan as it does his former brother-in-law, mentor and the man to whom he owes everything. The one Dean Oliver Barrow, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
For the past eleven years, each year Minister of Finance Barrow has approved ONE and a half million dollars for Minister Finnegan salary and the expenditure of his Ministry. But the Minister and his Ministry build no houses. They sit in Belmopan, collect their salaries and allowance and no houses are being built.
The Minister in 2010, 2011 and 2012 had a staff in Belmopan of 11 public officers. From 2012 onwards this jumped to 56 persons, 42 of whom are open vote political employees getting paid but building no houses.
The Ministry of Housing has a small housing department in Belize City. It used to have 15 public officers in 2008. That jumped to 60 persons with 45 of them political employees and cronies who have no work and build no houses but collect salaries amounting to half a million dollars each year. For the past 11 years that amounts to five million dollars.
With the coming of the general elections in 2012 Finance Minister Barrow sent five million dollars over to Finnegan Ministry. Barrow approved this huge expenditure under the guise it was for “housing assistance constituency programme”. Not to build any house. It was for political bribery for the Minister to give out voters.
Minister of Finance Barrow sent to Minister of Housing Finnegan in the same 2012 a further half a million dollars for “home improvement grants and loans”. Again, not to build houses but to attempt to bribe voters.
For 2015, general elections Minister of Finance Barrow sent over to Minister Finnegan one million dollars for “flood relief program for Belize City”. This was part of the millions of tax dollars used for getting votes. A further two million was sent by Barrow to his buddy Finnegan for “housing assistance”. Another vote buying gimmick. These monies were never audited. The extent of the abuse of tax dollars to win elections ranges in the hundreds of millions and must be investigated when government changes.
It is said that figures do not lie. Ministry of Finance officials say look in the estimate documents from the National Assembly for each year 2008-2019. Finnegan Ministry used to get four hundred thousand dollars for himself and ten workers. The Department in Belize City used to get seven hundred thousand for the 60 staff employees. That used to be over one million dollars each year.
Although only a few plycem houses have been built, the Ministry and the one department have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. A totally unnecessary expenditure as there was and still is no housing program. The figures from 2013 onwards show Finnegan’s Ministry gone from four to seven hundred thousand dollars for 56 employees. The housing department gone from seven hundred thousand dollars to one million dollars for 44 employees.
The total overall spending for Honourable Finnegan’s Ministry is over one billion dollars and less than one hundred plycem houses have been built for poor people.
What a massive and outrageous waste of monies for a poor country.
Next we will look at Honourable “Boots” Martinez scandalous situation.