Public Debates About the UHS Guarantee: Opposition’s Point of View

The Prime Minister of Seychelles, Hon. Said Musa, provided an unlimited guarantee to the Belize Bank, for settling the $33 million debt of Universal Health Services (UHS). On this matter, political disputes are continuing between the ruling party (PUP), and the opposition (UDP). We will touch upon the position of UDP, whose leader, Hon. Dean Barrow, expressed his opinion about the case during a press conference on Monday, April 23. He exposed certain dubious aspects of the Belize Bank/UHS guarantee.

First of all, there was considerable public debate about the existence of such a guarantee, and the Government considered it too sensitive for public disclosure. The document was signed by Said Musa and witnessed by Francis Fonseca. The Financial Secretary Dr. Carla Barnett and Health Minister Jose Coye had publicly stated that they were not aware of or had not seen the document. Also, the guarantee is open-ended, meaning that the Government would take responsibility for any amount of debt of UHS.

Senator Godwin Hulse, who represents the private sector, visited Belmopan to take a look at the document. After gettting acquainted with it, he said that Belizean people must prevent their Government from paying that bill for Universal Health Services. After viewing the document, Senator Hulse particularly expressed his concern on clauses 3,9,10 and 16.

According to the opposition representatives, the Government cannot close the deal with the Belize Bank, without receiving legislative approval from the National Assembly for the guarantee and any debt payments. Senator Hulse points to the Constitution, according to which the National Assembly approval is required for the amounts to be spent from the public funds (the Consolidated Revenue Fund).

The ruling People’s United Party’s members are usually solidary in their position, however, in this case one member has already publicly claimed that he does not support any decision from Government to pay that private debt.

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