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Oct 27, 2015

P.U.P. Says P.M. Barrow Entered into Secret Agreement with Fortis

In August of 2015, the Prime Minister announced that he had reached a settlement with Fortis over the nationalization of Belize Electricity Limited. He announced at the time that the deal involved a seventy-million-dollar payment and thirty-three percent of shares to be retained by Fortis. But did Prime Minister Dean Barrow sign a secret agreement with Fortis similar to the controversial accommodation agreement reached years ago involving Belize Telemedia Limited? The P.U.P. says he did, and more.  Today, representatives of the Opposition hosted a press conference at which they revealed the settlement deed between G.O.B. and Fortis – particularly a section which was allegedly signed after the settlement was gazetted. P.U.P. Senator Lisa Shoman today told the media that the PM has provided, in black and white, a security blanket to Fortis giving BECOL protection against the courts, the Public Utilities Commission and any other party.

 

Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman, Senator, People’s United Party

“There is a secret deal…it is contained in a document that was named in plain sight in the Electricity Acquisition Act in the interpretation section and the key to the secret door was therefore hiding in plain sight. We sought the key. We got the key and we will open the door for all of you to see. When you go through the document you will see that as part of the settlement to the legal challenge to the constitutionality of the expropriation and nationalization of the shares of B.E.L. the PM bound the government and the people of Belize by this deed, this written instrument that is signed, sealed and delivered to Barrow’s own version of the much vilified accommodation agreement but this time going much further and guaranteeing a rate of return to BECOL and Fortis for electricity supply by its own hydroelectric facility in Belize for a remaining term of the power purchase agreement for another twenty years or so, but moving well beyond that. By clause two point two, the government of Belize hereby confirms and represents that BECOL will be allowed to carry on business in Belize without interference, without interference and pursuant to the terms of existing agreements relating to the operation and management of the Mollejon and Chalillo, Vaca hydroelectric facilities including those provisions fixing the rates to be paid by B.E.L. for electricity supplied by these facilities. By the terms of this clause then, BECOL is therefore not to be interfered with by anyone including the regulator and including any Court.”

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