Is Your Social Security Money Compromised by Government Investments?
The Social Security Board – it’s the safety net for Belizeans in time of need, whether through sickness, pregnancy, injury or even death. In recent times S.S.B. funds have been used to prop up Government interests, including but not limited to the National Bank; shares in Belize Telemedia Limited, Belize Electricity Limited and Belize Water Services Limited. There are also loans to the Belize Airports Authority, Development Finance Corporation and the Belize City Council’s municipal bond project. According to the Opposition People’s United Party, more than eighty percent or four hundred and fifty-eight million dollars of the S.S.B. investment portfolio is held in these Government interests, and the liquid assets of the Board have been reduced to twenty-five million from over one hundred and thirty million last year. Opposition Leader John Briceño told News Five in an interview today that with the Government’s track record, we should all be concerned.
John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader
“In every conceivable way, the Government has found ways to get their hands into the workers’ money through Social Security. It is alarming because over eighty percent of our monies have been borrowed by Central Government; that exposure is way too much. The risk is way too great to play with the people’s money. And I believe that every single worker in this country should be concerned about what is taking place at the Social Security, with the management and the Board. The issue about oversight; we don’t know, we don’t have enough information. But the mere fact that four hundred and fifty-eight million dollars, according to the last report from Social Security has been borrowed or invested because of the Government’s direction, it raises the alarm. Social Security has lent seventeen million dollars already to fix the municipal airstrip or airport here in Belize City. Sixteen or seventeen million has been spent, yet only about sixty percent of the work has been done – it’s not finished yet. A few days ago, we hear that the local airlines, Tropic and Maya, have decided that they coming next month, October that they will no longer be flying to Caye Caulker because the airstrip is in such a bad state, and they have been crying out to just fix the runway. The following day we hear that the Airports Authority is going to borrow another seven million dollars to fix that runway at Caye Caulker; it is obviously a hustle.”
Briceño noted that this is in addition to monies obtained from petroleum sales by Belize Natural Energy, Petrocaribe and regular borrowing, adding up to close to three billion dollars.