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Feb 5, 2015

…Comments on BEL Nationalization

Eamon Courtenay

Courtenay also weighed in on the nationalization of B.E.L. In June 2011, government took over the utility company which it claimed was floundering and in a financial mess. But Courtenay says any mess was the result of a carefully orchestrated and devious plan by the government. And, of course, while the nationalization took place in 2011, he says government has still not paid one cent to the owners of that company.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Claimants

“In order to ruin the company to justify the nationalization, the government increased its taxes and refused to give…at a time when oil prices were shooting up to one hundred dollars a barrel…the government refused to give a rate increase. And in fact, in fact, proven…the PUC even before they heard the rate application by BEL has prepared an internal policy document where they said we are going to refuse them, before the application was made. So it was a carefully calculated plan to damage that company to bring it to the brink of financial ruin and then say we have to take it because we are going to have blackouts. Once the government took it what did they do? Rate increase and reduce the taxes…clear as day. Using executive and legislative force and power to damage a private company in order to justify taking it and then to compound it, not pay for it, that is the type of action that does not encourage people to invest, that does not allow people to have confidence that this is a country where the rule of law prevails, where you can invest with confidence, where contracts are respected. And this whole fight and struggle between the government and these entities is about making things fair and honourable. The government can take its political decision to nationalize, then pay the price. You can’t nationalize and not pay.”

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