Belize
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

PM Unfazed by Senate Inquiry into Portico’s Definitive Agreement

Jun 30, 2023

PM Unfazed by Senate Inquiry into Portico’s Definitive Agreement

The controversy surrounding Portico’s Definitive Agreement continues to be a fluid issue. Prime Minister John Briceño gave the media a long-awaited interview today, on his thirtieth anniversary as a senior parliamentarian. It came after a meeting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan where a number of issues were tabled. And Portico was again, at the heart of the session, after the Senate moved earlier this month to hold an inquiry into the Definitive Agreement. But P.M. Briceño is unfazed by the decision of the upper house to investigate his administration.

Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“It has nothing to do with us. It’s something that the UDP created, not us. We haven’t done anything wrong. As I said, we went to cabinet. We immediately agreed this is not going to fly.”

Reporter

“Sir, you have drafted legislation. Hold on, yes we did. But that’s our job. You see, I can’t go to Cabinet. One, the first thing on the first day in Cabinet, we said everything comes to Cabinet for discussion. So we provided legislation and everything. Take it to the Cabinet. I said, okay, this is what we are, and then immediately when we started to go into the nuts and bolts of the agreement, which was led by the Minister of Tourism, I immediately said, you know what, pull it back. This is not going to fly. We discussed that maybe 15 minutes. So, we will go there and say, well, you know, we met this. We bring it to cabinet, which is what we’re supposed to do. There are two issues. There’s the approval of the NEAC. And then after that you have the environmental compliance plan that you have to do. The NEAC approved the project, so now it is incumbent on us as a government to ensure that the, that the company that got the approval to come up with environmental compliance plan. So the CEO was doing his work in pushing to ensure that we could get this compliance plan moving. Because it’s a huge project that we all realize or understand or believe that it is a project that is needed for Belize. He was simply doing his job. Now, if he would have been at the NEAC and pushing for approval or whatever, then you could make a case. He is doing his job to ensure that that plan is prepared and to be able to confirm within what the NEAC has approved. So there are two different items and you can’t put…”

Reporter

“Yes, but he’s the chairman of NEAC.”

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Yes, but NEAC finish. NEAC finish. Hold on, hold on just second. Don’t confuse people. Okay, sir, the NEAC approved the project. Now based on the recommendations of the NEAC, now you have to – the DOE, the Department of Environment now have to come up with the environmental compliance plan, the investor to do its compliance plan, and then the DOE have to approve it.”

Reporter

“That’s my point. Kenrick Williams is overtly influencing the outcome. I just have to ask, although you’ve answered it, just indulge me in your wisdom and patience. Was he directed? Was he directed?”

Prime Minister John Briceño

“No. He was not directed? No, he was not directed.”

Reporter

“So he did that of his own volition? Absolutely, he was not directed by the minister, nor by myself. It differs most starkly from the treatment with Waterloo.”

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Can we move? The problem with Waterloo, and if you were to take your time and look at what has happened, is that there are still major concerns with the dredging material, if Waterloo would have addressed the dredging material, I think they would’ve gotten the approval. And if they would’ve gotten the approval, we would’ve done everything to support them to ensure that that project could become a reality.”