Local May 9, 2013 | 4:51 pm

Veteran lawmaker slams three top politicos on Barrick Gold fiasco

Santo Domingo.- A senior member of the lower Chamber on Thursday slammed the presidents of the three major parties, including his own pro-government PRSC, for having “pressured” lawmakers to approve the original contract with Barrick Gold Corp., a gaffe he called a "great lesson for legislators" for failing to read the bill before passing it.

Deputy Marino Collante said the government’s new pact with Barrick Gold should be a “lesson” that bills and contracts must be studied despite pressure from their parties.

He said former president Leonel Fernandez (PLD) and presidents Miguel Vargas of the PRD, and Carlos Morales of the PRSC, pressured the senators and deputies to vote for the draft for the agreement with the Canadian miner, approved in 2009.

"From now on, no matter the pressure the political parties make we are going to ignore. I will not approve anything that I am not aware and no even if the President of my party calls me, because in the end, those who endure low blows are the lawmakers," said the four-term lawmaker from Santiago.

Collante, who has chaired the Chamber of Deputies Finance Committee for years, stressed that several lawmakers have publicly admitted approving the bill without reading it.

After amendment requested by Barrick Gold was approved, Fernandez visited the mine at Pueblo Viejo (northeast), where he touted the contract as a model for other pacts worldwide.

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