CCJ orders lower Interest Rate on UHS award Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

The Attorney General of Belize has succeeded in his application before the CCJ to reduce the interest rate contained in a certificate issued by the Court. The certificate, made following an arbitral award made against the Government in 2013, specified a 17% interest rate compounded monthly against Belize in favor of the Belize Bank.

According to that certificate, the debt stood at BZ$91.6M with interest “continuing to accrue at 17% compounded monthly until the date of payment”. The Attorney General applied to have that rate reduced from the date of the certificate, arguing that the applicable interest rate was the 6% permitted under Belize law on all judgments in Belize.

The Attorney General’s application was granted and the CCJ noted that “it would naturally be unfair to the Government of Belize that post-judgment interest should be imposed at almost triple the statutory rate in circumstances where this was not sought by the Bank and the Attorney General had no meaningful opportunity in court to make any submissions in this regard. The post-judgment interest figure in the Certificate was an unfortunate replication of the terms of the Award.”

The hearing of the application took place on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by the Bench of the CCJ comprising of the Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, President of the CCJ, and Hon. Justices Saunders, Wit, Hayton, and Rajnauth-Lee. The Attorney General of Belize was represented by Dr. Ben Juratowitch QC, the Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke, and Agassi Finnegan, while the Belize Bank was represented by Eamon Courtenay SC and Angeline Welsh.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2018 15:38
KHMH built broken by the PUP Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

There is a lot of talk about our major referral hospital the KHMH. Apparently there is a problem with sections of the facility’s roof that was made public about two weeks ago. According to what we’ve been told, debris fell from the ceiling and that forced the KHMH’S management to do some assessments following which some temporary remedial repairs were done to try to reinforce the roof from inside the facility by installing some temporary columns. The KHMH Authority also made the decision to close off certain sections of the facility. The closure of those sections have led to the cut back of some services that the KHMH provides. However, plans are underway to augment some of those services by conducting them elsewhere, places like the various health centers, district hospitals and at the private hospitals.

The problem with the roof goes back to the construction of the hospital. Back in 1989/1990 the then PUP government came up with the idea that they would build a new hospital to replace the ageing Belize City Hospital. Like all projects associated with the PUP, the PUP insiders saw this as an opportunity to hustle. The plans were made and the sight was chosen. Then finally the design was done and the contract was awarded. The contractor chosen was a Spanish Consortium, Comylsa Tecsa and Consultiberca. Ground was broken around 1992 and construction started a short time after. Those notable PUP’S such as Lucas Concas, Lopez, Berbey and Pollack were all given subcontracts. These subcontracts were for various things, everything from clearing of the site, to driving piles, to providing sand, stone and other aggregates. These subcontractors also became the ones who actually were doing the construction. We all know the type of finished product these subcontractors are known for, so now that we are in this predicament it is no surprise.

We were reliably informed by one trucker that rather than ferry sand all the way from a source that had been identified as having the quality product required, the persons selling the sand would mix the sand from Orange Walk with the much cheaper and more readily available sea sand. The salt content in the sea sand was very high and has now caused the steel to corrode. This corrosion has caused massive implosion within the concrete installations. Coupled with that is the fact that the roof leaks and has always leaked from the time of construction. When the then PUP government signed off on the hospital after the retention period was up, they knew of those problems, but still they signed off. The roof was so bad that it had to be replaced. Back in December 2003, this was what the then CEO said in an interview he gave to Channel 5 about the KHMH, “Shortly after I took management, we developed a strategic plan, which included the gradual maintenance and uplifting of the entire institution. The Ministry of Health has been very, very helpful; they replaced the roof, which was leaking, through a special project that was on, they have repaired the equipment, and the board itself has replaced quite a bit of medical equipment in the hospital. We have repaired the interior parts of it; when we came the plumbing was bad, the ceiling was falling in, the tiles were lifting up and that sort of thing. We are now about finished, and if you note, the walls have just recently been painted inside, and we’re finished with the inside of the hospital, and we now want to go to the exterior parts of it.”

What we suspect is that things got even worse since then, because once again in another interview, that time it was in August 2007,CEO Alvaro Rosado gave another negative review of the KHMH’s structural integrity. This was what he said on that occasion. The event caused him to give an interview to Channel 7’s Keith Swift,

“The decision to evacuate Belize City was based on the fact that an engineer had given us the information that he was not guarantee that this building could take a category one hurricane.”

For any member of the PUP who were then members of the PUP administrations between 1998 and 2008 to now claim that they did not know about the problems at that hospital is plain hypocrisy. They all knew because cabinet was made aware of the situation, because it was the government who provided the money to do the repairs. They were also the ones who signed off on the finished product and it was their people who were hustling off the project. Perhaps that was why he had to sign off on the project even with all the flaws. As is usually the case, it’s the UDP who will remedy this situation.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2018 15:39
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

After experiencing the heinous crimes of carnage as explained by PM Barrow at his press conference on Sunday March 19, 2018 at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel, Belizeans are left shaken. What happened can only be labelled as an act of terrorism. The Government of Belize must seriously consider classifying gangs and gang violence as terrorist activity. The Laws must be amended to reflect this with the requisite adequate punishment/sentence.

While most Belizeans viewed this situation with grave concern, there is this one individual, a former Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs who seems to have taken delight in what is happening. That individual trolled the PM throughout the entire press conference. That individual all of a sudden became the brightest chandelier in Belize, having all the solutions and answers to the problem. Imagine this being the very person in the capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs who could not remove a simple container encroaching on our border. Unconfirmed reports have it that this individual’s claim to fame is the bringing under scrutiny of Belize’s reputation over an unwarranted quarrel for parking space in New York.

Social Media observers have been wondering from whence came this sudden stroke of brilliance, for certainly when the PUP was struggling with crime between the period of 2002 to 2008 it was not visible. To support this position this column has enlisted the help of Channel 7 News and borrowed the following extracts. The below extracts clearly shows a frustrated Said Musa reaching out for help in fighting crime and THE National Chandelier was nowhere to be found.

Posted June 12, 2006

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize

“It is difficult to find the words to describe the shock and shame of many Belizeans as a result of several particularly violent murders and sexual crimes that have occurred since the start of this year. These sensational crimes have been accompanied by a high profile string of holdups let by Guatemalan bandits targeting our tourism industry in the Cayo District. Understandably, while the overall level of crimes in our country may not have increased during this period, the nature of these particular crimes, signal crimes as criminologists would call them, have been so gruesome, so utterly repugnant, that the Belizean public risks becoming unnerved, WE RISK LOSING OUR WILL TO BATTLE CRIMES AND CRIMINALS.

Frankly it’s impossible to offer reason to certain level of violence and perversions. For example who can explain the gangland murder of the Brannon brothers in front of their home reportedly over a necklace. How can human beings chop, maim, and then ritually burn a young family of three in their home. How can a stepfather sexually assault his underage daughter allegedly in broad daylight on a usually busy street in Belize City. Or how can a couple collude, allegedly, to rape an underaged neighbor. THESE ARE NOT CRIMES PREVENTABLE BY ANY POLICE DEPARTMENT, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. THESE ARE ARBITRARY CRIMES BORN OF INHUMAN DISRESPECT FOR LIFE.

The Y-Focus Group that led the march against crime in Belize City last Friday reflects the frustration of the vast majority of the Belizean people who are fatigued and worried about their own safety and numbed from the sensational news reports of these signal crimes, each one seemingly more brutal, more heinous, than the last.”

“The investments that our government has made in the crime war have been unprecedented in financial and human resources. The annual budget for law enforcement has increased from $14.8 million in 1998 to $33.2 million today. I cite a sampling of this list of investment and initiatives not to deflect blame, but to reaffirm my government’s recognition of the crime problem.”

“Just as we do not seek today to shirk our government’s role in fighting crime, so too must all segments of society recognize the contribution that they must make to a safer, more peaceful Belize. These partners in fighting crime must include parents, educators, priests and pastors, businessmen and women, neighbors and potential witnesses. We must also ask ourselves which convicted criminal or accused criminal is without parents. Which ones did not have teachers or were not part of a church congregation at some point in his or her life. How many did not work in organizations and alongside other employees. We have to be honest with ourselves and admit that over the years, as adults, we have been failing in our duty to promote a standard of behavior on the next generation. Discipline has been sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and a moral relativism that denies our traditional sense of right or wrong.”

“Television has profoundly affected our lives. Many families spend more time watching TV than talking to each other. The glamorization of violence on our TV screens seems to have no limits. We are bombarded on the airwaves by preachers of hate and music with anti-women lyrics with females routinely described as bitches and whores. There is no moral outrage about all that is disrespectful, indecent, irreverent, and offensive.”

“This government has a proud record of freeing the airwaves. Our media policy has allowed diversity of views to flourish. Freedom of expression is fully protected as a constitutional right. But when this freedom is being systematically abused and exploited to instill hate, violence, and deviant behavior, it is time for the Belizean Broadcasting Authority to act. This is a call for action.”

June 2, 2006

Jules Vasquez,

At what point does this become the fault of the Minister of Home Affairs (Ralph Fonseca) and his ineptitude or inability to inspire people or to come up with a strategy to contain this?

Rt. Hon. Said Musa,

“I don’t think you can say it is the fault of anyone. We are dealing with a phenomenon of rising crime, whether it be through the trans-border problem that they are having with armed Guatemalan soldiers who have been de-marked, taken out or retired from the military, I think that is a large of part of the problem, or whether it be these deportees who are being sent back into our countries. We are dealing with a serious problem of rising criminal activity and certainly it affects the tourism industry. That is one major aspect that we have to address seriously but it’s a national problem, it’s not just how it affects the tourists. It’s a big problem in terms of ensuring it does not destroy our tourist industry. But we have been working on it, the police have been getting, and to my mind, and to the Commissioner and all the Police Department people are doing a very commendable job and we must continue to support them.”

August 1, 2002

Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister of Belize

The issue of crime and violence is undoubtedly the single most pressing concern in Belize today. It is incredible that crime and violence is even more of concern than Guatemala - that’s saying a lot. Much has been said across the length and breadth of the nation about the root causes of crime and the measures that have been taken and the further measures that need to be taken to stem this raging tide that is sweeping our region and indeed our world. Crime and violent crimes in particular strike at the very heart of our society. It is a direct threat to our democracy, our national well-being and our way of life. It must be defeated and it must be confronted as a family issue, a neighborhood issue, a community issue, and a national security issue. Let’s face it.

In closing, one finds it difficult that the bulk of this violence is occurring in the Lake Independence Constituency where there seems to be a well loved representative in Cordel Hyde. In the March 7th Municipal Elections, Hyde was successful in garnering a three to one margin in popular votes. It is therefore difficult to comprehend why Hyde has not reached out to his constituents to stop the black on black executions. Is it that he has no love for his people or that he is comfortable with the current situation as long as he can gain political mileage from it?

Attorney General swears new Justices of the Peace in Florida Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

The Attorney General of Belize, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, had the responsibility of swearing in five Justices of the Peace. The swearing in took place on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Consulate of Belize in Florida. Each of the five persons that were sworn in, including Tracy Gomez, Deborah D. Duncan, Glenda Lewis, Jason Guild, and Phillip McKay, are all Belizeans residing in Florida.

Their service will help to facilitate Belizeans in Florida who need urgent assistance in authenticating documents. The newly sworn-in Justices of the Peace will receive additional minor training in immigration and land-related matters so as to reduce delays.

Belize Defence Force Receives $120,000 Donation from Republic of China (Taiwan) Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

The Family Association Building of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) at Price Barracks in Ladyville has been fully renovated thanks to a $120,000.00 BZD donation from Republic of China (Taiwan). The building, which was in dire need of repair, has now been converted into a welcoming and safe space for the families of the soldiers.

As a result of the renovations, all structural beams, slabs, columns, retaining walls, ceiling, and floors were reinforced. Electrical fixtures were upgraded while all gutters, faucets, and plumbing were properly sealed to avoid corrosion. The building was also retrofitted with twenty hurricane shutters and its exterior and interior walls repainted and caulked.

With the upgrades, the BDF is now able to provide affordable, quality dormitories for soldiers to host their families while on duty over the weekends. The Ministry of Defence and the Belize Defence Force would like to thank the Government and People of Taiwan for their generous support and for helping to bring BDF families together.


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