The PetroCaribe Tacos
It would be a disservice to Faber to even attempt an essay with such a title. The leader in his best nightmares of the defunct party is as dossier free as an incompetent can be. Faber has nought to show after 150 months of screaming himself into the Collet seat. As we all know he totally forgot the people of Collet except when he had to read the Pibil Petrotacos banner.
In Faber’s miniscule mind his greatest achievement was the 2012 Education Act which he signed when he decided in 2012 that he didn’t need the teachers nor the Belize National Teachers Union input. The Immigration tainted 2012 March 7 double election was history so he said ‘to hell with it.’ And he signed without getting the BNTU’s blessing.
In one crooked signature he imposed a financial formula that all Education literature has criticized as worse practice. But vintage UDP, Faber and his UDP felt they needed to go with quantity and NOT quality. Theoretically, more children would be in school. Faber has never learned that families send their children to school when there are jobs, and hope.
Already alluded to, Faber’s other accomplishment that will never leave the annals of UDP infamy is the Pibil Party in Corozal. He took members of his constiruency for a day of fun. The point is that the people’s money in the consolidated funds is NOT for use for beer and tacos, ask the coronavirus. Now the UDP is out begging for money.
Here is how Faber tried to explain it in June 2015: “Fifty-thousand was allocated for Collet. We did not wish to have a Mother’s Day celebration Mister Speaker, so what we chose to do instead was to have a family day. We took mothers, we took fathers, we took the entire family, Mister Speaker on an event that brought the entire family together. Mister Speaker, I don’t how many of them represent a poor constituency like mine; one that is of course riddled with crime and violence
Mister Speaker and opportunities that are not like that. They don’t live in front of the Caribbean Sea like one newspaper publisher who opens his window every morning and smells the Caribbean breeze and feels the Caribbean breeze on his skin. So he can write a million headlines and articles. He was one who complained about it.
But my leader did not complain; in fact, he is the one who helped us to be able to provide such opportunities for the people of Collet. But for the record Mister Speaker, let me tell them that our fifty thousand dollars was not only spent on the Collet Family Day; in fact, Mister Speaker, if you check the record, you check my Facebook page—they love to follow it—you will see that we had a senior’s day on the fifteen of June. … How could that not be proper use of the Petrocaribe money?”
There was even a promise for a PetroCaribe trip to Hopkins with PetroCaribe funds the following year.
Minister Hulse also had an opinion: “They didn’t take special money and give any of the representatives. It comes out of the Ministry of Human Development which is part of a flow out of the Consolidated Fund and we need to understand that concept. We have to be very clear about the use of funds and transparency because they are two different things. One can criticize the use of funds. One can say oh it shouldn’t be used for this or it shouldn’t be used for that but remember that use of funds is something that is determined by government and determined by budgets that go to the National Assembly, and we could criticize the use of funds in lots of ways. What we cannot criticize is that there is any non-transparency in the use, and I wanted to make that difference.”
Mike Rudon at Ch5: “Sir you said one can criticize, but do you criticize the use of that funds…be it Consolidated Funds or Petrocaribe funds to be used for a one day outing in Corozal for a certain sector of a constituency?”
Godwin Hulse: “Why did I know that question would come? If I were outside the Cabinet of Belize, you would have heard my view on it. I am inside the Cabinet of Belize and Cabinet works collectively, so any decision that’s made by Cabinet with respect to finances, etc. I support.” “You can’t do that to me man. How can I give you my decision when I am inside the team? When I was outside the team that’s a different thing! I’m inside the team. So my view outside the team doesn’t count. When I’m outside the team that’s a different view! I’m inside the team and that’s how it works.”
For Context: In 2012, the Barrow-led Government signed into law to bring into Belize the Venezuelan program that was destined to rid participating Caribbean countries out of poverty. On paper, this was all perfect. But any government that was already in bed with Pukke definitely did not have anything good in mind. PetroCaribe took sanctuary in the UDP cabinet room and the mastermind was busy looking at how to corrupt it, to beat it—like a video game which is difficult at the beginning.
The essence of this cunning scheme was to subvert and misuse parts of our laws in order to run roughshod over our hard earned taxpayer money. The UDP eventually went beyond the constitution. Let us go through what I will call the PetroCaribe process.
Fuel was sent to Belize from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela during a time that was much more stable that today. Tankers would get to Belize and the product would be bought and distributed from the Port Depot—PUMA and its owners presently control this. The Belizean consumer contributes by buying this fuel at the price asked for at the gas station, taxes and all. This money via foreign exchange is then used to pay the tankers.
Here is where the sticky part comes in. Belize paid to each fuel tankers only an average of FIFTY percent of the bill every time a barge empties at Port. And this payment was in US dollars acquired via exportation—hard earned money largely via Agriculture and others.
The remaining 50 percent was KEPT by Belize in a fund that the government would make loans from. And of course, they loaned pretty much all. This was done for year and year and ROLLED out indiscriminately and without regard to the process of getting House approval for expenditure. The Supreme Court called this unconstitutional and anti the Audit and Reform Act.
Belize works with something called a Consolidated Fund which is like an elderly parent with many kids who give him/her money for subsistence. Every year Belize appropriates what will be spent and where it will be spent in the Annual Budget that the general populace hears about. Any money outside of this Annual Budget, a law, MUST be taken to the house for approval.
The Barrow government did not do that for some 1.4 Billion dollars of which close to 500 million were gotten via the PetroCaribe Loan which the Prime Minister and the UDP went to parliament and retrospectively approved expenditure. Who does this in their daily lives? Spend all the money recklessly and years later approve the illegality in supplementary measures taken to the house. The PetroCaribe was the biggest. This occurred at the heels of the 2015 General Elections which was heavily influenced by this slush fund.
Prior to those elections, money has thrown out from Pibil to Cheers and any and everything except in getting Belizeans out of poverty—the real reason for the PetroCaribe funds.
This UDP Infamy of it all is that money is unaccounted for and unaudited, especially the 100 million in slippage. Where is the money? A Billion dollars are not in the projects that are being touted by the UDP? Where is the money? The PUP will find out.