Archive for March, 2008

Belize delegation attends EU-Caribbean partnership meeting

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) was leading a delegation of 5 Belizean furniture manufacturing companies that participated at an EU-Caribbean “Partnership Meeting for Furniture and Complementary Decorative Items”. The international meeting was held in the Dominican Republic on March, 10-12, 2008.

This meeting provided CARIFORUM and European SMEs that work in the furniture and decorative complementary items sectors the opportunity to get informed on different types of collaboration with their Caribbean and European counterparts as well as to establish cooperation agreements that may include investments, transfer of technology, joint ventures, decorating concepts, marketing, manufacturing, contracts for supplying, etc.

Central Bank asks Belize Bank to pay back USD 10 million

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Following the situation with Venezuelan Grant, on March 17, 2008, the Belize Central Bank annonced issuing a directive to the Belize Bank to return to the Belize Government the sum of USD 10 million donated to the people of Belize by the Venezuelan Government.

On December 28, 2007, the money was sent by the Fide-comisios de Venezuela to the Government and people of Belize, and it was illegally diverted by the Government of Belize for settling a private debt with the Belize Bank.

A 2nd directive to the Belize Bank provides instructions for the bank to provide full information and documentation related to USD 10 million received by the Belize Bank from the Govenment of Taiwan.

According to the notes released by the Central Bank, failure to comply with these directives of the Beize Central Bank will be a criminal offence. By means of a press release, the Belize Bank has responded that the Central Bank is not a legal authority that is entitled to make such a directive.

The missing USD 10 million from Venezuelan Grant detected

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

The situation with the missing USD 10 million out of the Venezuelan grant of USD 20 million has been described previously. To remind, according to the announcements of the previous administration, the Venezuelan Government awarded a grant to Belize in the sum of USD 10 million to be distributed the particular way. However, the initial sum appeared to amount to a twice bigger sum – USD 20 million. So, the new Belizean Government declared its intention to understand the real situation and to make all the necessary efforts to account for all the funds sent.

Former Prime Minister Said Musa admitted that he had used USD 10 million from the Venezuelan grant of USD 20 million in order to settle a government guarantee with the Belize Bank. Musa confirmed that he had deliberately under-stated the amount of the Venezuelan grant.

Recently, a new Prime Minister Dean Barrow described the action of the former Prime Minister as outrageous and absolutely reprehensible. Barrow spoke at a press conference at the VIP lounge of the Philip Goldson International Airport, before taking off for a CARICOM conference in the Bahamas, to reveal that Musa accompanied by former Minister of National Security, Ralph Fonseca has requested a private meeting with him. At this meeting, the retired Prime Minister informed Barrow that the Government of Venezuela had transferred the sum of USD 20 million as a grant to the Government of Belize, and that last year the CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amalia Mai, travelled to Caracas to sign a contract designating how the money was to be spent. According to Musa, Mai returned to Belize without a copy of this contract.

Barrow expressed his government’s determination to find out the terms agreed upon in the contract signed by a Belize representative and to get to the whole truth regarding the Venezuelan grant.

Sydney Campell, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, who was present at the press conference, was asked about the funds transferred from Venezuela. Campbell said that the first USD 10 million was transferred to the Central Bank of Belize, while the other USD 10 million was sent directly to a Belize Bank subsidiary in the Turks and Caicos Islands. According to Campell, the transfer of the funds to a subsidiry was unusual, and irregular moves by the Belize Bank were the reason for him to initiate an investigation into the bank’s activities.

Belize at Taiwan Business Summit

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Belize is represented at the Taiwan-Central America and Caribbean Business Leaders Summit. The head of a delegation to the Republic of China on Taiwan to represent Belize there is Minister of Economic Development, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Protection, the Hon. Erwin Contreras.

The delegation departed for Taiwan on March 6, 2008.

Taiwan is hosting the summit from March 8 till March 13 and intends to bring together leaders in government and the private sector in order to discuss mutually beneficial trade, investment, and cooperation opportunities between the regional economies of Central America and the Caribbean and Taiwan.