Dr. Carla Barnett explains why she walked away in 2007 Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 December 2017 00:00

Reproduced from Dr. Carla Barnett’s Facebook post

I was asked why I walked away in 2007 rather than stay to try and help to “fix it”. People’s memories are short - or maybe it’s just natural to try and forget painful experiences. Please remember that a lot of time and energy was spent:

1. Trying to solve an unsustainable fiscal situation

2. Implementing tough economic reform measures which brought real pain to the business sector and ordinary Belizeans,

3. Negotiating extensive governance strengthening measures such as reform of the Finance and Audit Act and introducing social partner consultations in policy formulation etc.

4. Sorting out the bankrupt DFC which was brought to near dissolution,

5. Rebuilding relationships with the international financial institutions so that they were once again willing to consider lending to Belize on concessionary terms and conditions, and

6. Leading the negotiations to restructure government’s commercial debt to gain some prospects of debt sustainability, with the support of concessional borrowings and policy “approval” from the international financial institutions.

I was deeply involved in all of these in an attempt to bring some stability to the extremely difficult, unsustainable fiscal and debt situation.

After all this, the then government decided to go back to the same kind of actions - taking on liabilities at commercial rates that brought no benefit to the people but benefited private individuals - that had brought on these difficult problems in the first place. This is what the UHS deal represented at its core.

This, after the government of Belize had made commitments to its creditors, to the international community and, most importantly, to the Belizean people, that it would henceforth practice fiscal prudence, transparency and accountability. It was clear to me that the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance had no intention of keeping those commitments so recently made.

I could not be complicit in that.