Johnny opens old wounds on Airport Authority Print E-mail
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Thursday, 02 November 2017 00:00

We are not certain what it was that emboldened Johnny Briceno to make public a leaked document from within the Social Security Board on Thursday of last week. The document was an internal memo which the Investment Committee of the SSB prepared to consider a loan of 7 million dollars for the reconstruction of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airstrip. The memo basically rejected the application on the grounds that BAA would not be able to service the debt especially because it already has a 17-million-dollar loan with the SSB and the additional one would put a cash crunch on the authority. The recommendation was that a new application be made for a smaller amount would be more feasible for the BAA. With that the BAA has since reapplied for 4 million dollars and again the SSB is considering the application.

As for Johnny’s ‘earth shattering’ revelation, there are a few things that need to be pointed out. Primary among these is the fact that the reason why the loan was turned down was because the SSB’s investment committee is actually working. The loan was considered and it turned out that it was not a feasible one so it did not even make it to the board level for consideration. This is in stark contrast to the days when he was the Deputy Prime Minister and when the SSB was the milking cow for the cronies. We can all recall the disaster that Galleria Maya was along with the SSB purchasing of mortgages from St. James and Western Development which was then use in the great Mortgage Securitization scam that costs the SSB millions upon millions of dollars.  At the time even though the Investment Committee would make recommendations that loans not be approved, the Board would overturn those decisions and went ahead and made the loans that ultimately turned into bad deals with the SSB ended up having to shoulder. Quite the opposite is the true now: when the Investment Committee makes recommendations those recommendations are adhered to.

During his appearance on the various newscasts last week, Johnny stated that the BAA was in financial trouble. While nothing could be further from the truth, what can be said is that the authority could actually have been in a better financial position. Had it not been for the Musa administration’s giveaway of the Philip Goldson International Airport to PUP cronies that would have been the case. In the very document that Johnny read from it states clearly that the Airport Concession Company should be paying the Authority 3 million dollars a year; however, that payment is only 50 thousand dollars. That is because an agreement which was presented during the giveaway bound the authority to only collect the 50 thousand dollars instead of the 3 million dollars.