Mayor said the B.E.L. disconnection was uncalled for
City Hall had a tough day on Wednesday; it landed itself a black eye after B.E.L. pulled the plug bright and early for unpaid bills. The Belize City Mayor, Zenaida Moya Flowers, pulled no punches this morning in expressing how infuriated she is about the disconnection. Moya Flowers says that the council received a twenty-six page excel document on Monday evening and it was lights out a day and half later, at a time when the office was packed with consumers paying property taxes. According to the Mayor, when she took office in 2006, she was handed a list of debts that added up to eleven point two million dollars, but B.E.L. was nowhere on it. She says the current Council had no knowledge of the unpaid bills, which date back twelve years and that no payments will change hands until the matter is thoroughly investigated.
Zenaida Moya Flowers, Belize City Mayor
“While Councilor Leslie was saying 2003, my perusal, I looked at it and I saw that there were many of the accounts that they were saying that we’re supposed to pay were for little bills dating back from 1999. That is way beyond my time. I went into office March first, 2006 and so for BEL to have gone back from 1999 I don’t know what they are trying to do, what they are attempting to do but it really raised my eyes as to why they would go back from 1999 when this council came into office in 2006. So we have been reviewing it and we will try to ensure that whatever is proper is done because the Belize City Council, we don’t have any bills when we got into office 2006, stating that we owe BEL. As a matter of fact, when we got into office we continued paying and as far as we know we are up to date. So whoever pulled those bills out of a hat from 1999, clearly we will have to ensure that the council does due diligence and that our legal team looks at it as well. Also, for any manager or any higher-ups to okay pulling the plug or cutting off the lights from City Hall, to me it shows vindictiveness because the council is not just any entity. It’s there conducting work on behalf of all the residents of Belize City.
We at the City Hall don’t even have those records dating back. When we got into office, as a matter of fact, we don’t even get records for the 2005 period much less 1999. So that’s why you need to really understand that this council was not presented with those bills and so I don’t believe that this council should simply jump up and take the people’s money and pay bills that is alleged that the council owes dating back 1999. And even statute bar, you have to look at those measures. I mean, 1999 man? Why did Belize Electricity Limited not ensure that the council of 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 pay those bills? Why come to our council 2011?”
B.E.L. has asked that the council provide a response by Friday on how they intend to proceed. But Mayor Moya Flowers says they need time because the document only lists account numbers and balances, but has no indication of where the service was provided or to whom. We were unable to confirm if there is in fact one very recent unpaid bill. The mayor was this morning on Open Your Eyes.