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Jun 8, 2011

P.M. says, “We believe the people of Belize should own B.E.L.”

We have been reporting on the precarious financial situation of Belize Electricity Limited and whether or not there will be blackouts. The issue of its nationalization was dealt with squarely by Prime Minister Dean Barrow today. B.E.L. has been unable to keep current with payments to suppliers, primarily the Comision Federal de Electricidad to which, it owes eight million dollars. Added to that there is a twelve million dollars debt to its sister company BECOL and a court case worth fifty million dollars with the Public Utilities Commission. C.E.O., Lynn Young, appealed to the government to pay at least four million dollars to keep the lights on for the next two weeks. But what is the future of B.E.L. and is the government going to take over the company? At his quarterly press conference today, P.M. Barrow, went as far as to say that while it is a question of ideological conviction, government should own essential services.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“I don’t want to prejudice negotiations with B.E.L., but I am telling you that there will be a solution. I have in my mind the team, the Cabinet has in its mind the outlines of the solution, but a lot will depend on how the talks go with B.E.L. We already had some confirmation of how serious the situation is. In terms of my phone call with Lynn Young, it appears B.E.L. has no answer. Well that is unacceptable. I don’t know where Mister Young went—perhaps he went to Canada, perhaps he went to talk to Fortis. So when he comes back in the country and we meet on Friday, he may have some solution to offer us in the interests of B.E.L. and the interests of consumers. So I really want to wait to speak with him before I report to you on how things are progressing.

“This government, the party now in government, was always ideologically opposed to the privatization of essential resources. So wherewithal apart—as a matter of philosophy and conviction and what we think is right—we believe that the people of Belize should own B.E.L. We believe that the people of this country should own B.T.L.; we believe that the people of this country should own Belize Water Services.  That is a philosophical, ideological conviction if you will.

If we could wave a magic wand or snap our fingers to get back B.E.L. thereby, we would do it immediately. We know, especially if you are talking about a bankrupt company, that it would be a hell of a challenge going forward, but we would be left with no alternatives to secure the interests of people and we would also be doing what we inherently believe is correct—have the government and people of this country own the essential services. In terms of compensation, I am telling you that we are going to sit down and have what I hope will be an amicable meeting with Lynn Young. I am not telling you that government is looking to nationalize by force B.E.L. at all.”

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27 Responses for “P.M. says, “We believe the people of Belize should own B.E.L.””

  1. Lucas says:

    Mr. Barrow, I dislike many of your policies among are: taking the land from people who had legal leases e.g. in Ranchito and Carmelita. Putting members of your family to guard the cheese.Victimizing poor people because of party color. Tamparing with the Constitution and the judicial system. I have certain reservation on this 21 days detention idea. I seriously hold against you neglecting the western border. however, I support your stand against Matura, Ch’oc, Sulp, Sakchron and would support nationalizing BEL and BWS. Remember, no one sit atop INDEPENDENCE HILL WITHOUT THE BLESSING OF THE INDEPENDENT.

  2. Wil says:

    Mr. Prime Minister TOO many things are falling apart in Belize. Electricity industry, bus industry, sugar industry and the list goes on. I am beginning to think that the government might actually be the problem. Let’s be real and start talking practical solutions.

  3. Rod says:

    Another failure of this gov. Their is no hope for this country as long as this pm and this useless gov. Remain in power thanks to this gov. And this pm Belize has now become a failed state the name of this country is now tombstone instead of Belize nothing is going right with this gov. And I do mean nothing sad sad sad resign barrow please resign you are a total failure at this job so give the belizeans a break and just resign for the good of the country.

  4. Roni says:

    Maybe if we (Belize) own BEL, we can pressure them to comply with the ECP which they have not been following under the current ownership? Lets try it! BEL should be paying to save our last scarlet macaws in the Chiquibul, where they built the Chalillo Dam. We are loosing the last 200 macaws Belize has and BEL sits with crossed arms.

  5. Justice says:

    I think the PM actually means that some member of his family should own it!

  6. Benqueno says:

    Yeeeaaaaa….way to go….kudos to the Prime Minister of Belize and this Government….

  7. ivan cal says:

    Barrow companies!!!!!!,please mr PM don’t confuse urself in saying thats Belizeans need to own BTL,BWS,BEL………because from the time u took BTL ,we Belizeans have not recieved anyting out of it only the dean barrow family and cronies so what is the difference in ur government taking over BEL? still we will heve to pay the high cost of the bills,like BTL national and international call continue to be EXPENSIVE…..noting has changed,ur a real joke MR.PM -u can fool urself but u cannot continue to fool the Belizean people.the people are AWAKE.

  8. Belize Cow says:

    Every time a company falters, demagogues use it to rally the people behind them. But it’s a rallying to a blind cause. Nationalizing isn’t a solution, in fact, when companies falter it reflects the poor environment created by the governing party. Don’t let these guys fool you. Check it out for yourselves.

  9. Omar says:

    Its a sad day to see our utilities come to this. They are definitely a profitable company? I believe they are sneaking up the rates on us too. I could be wrong though?

  10. Lindsay Howard says:

    You have to get rid of BECOL, too. BECOL is the REAL problem.

  11. Jessie James says:

    Almost 8 Million a year is what Lyn Young get for his pay and he does not even know how to manage B.E.L.
    If he could manage properly, BEL would not be broke.
    Lyn take one year of your wage and donate it to Belize to save BEL
    or if not . . . . . . .
    Resign Lynn resignnnnnnnnnn

  12. Eye in the Sky says:

    Lyn Young gets paid almost $8 Million a year to manage BEL and the company is Broke?
    Why is he paid so much and for incompitence?
    He Can Not manage properly and that is why BEL is broke.
    Resign Lyn resignnnnnnnn

  13. Bz says:

    I agree completely. Belizeans should own basic utilities. It has been shown worldwide, that privatization was the wrong way to go.

  14. Me says:

    yes buy bel, but as its backrupt , buy it at foreclusure price , say 10 million. and five the ownership to people of belize . please no barrows or family should be on the list of owners.

  15. WESTERNMERMAID says:

    WELL FOR YOUR INFORMATION THIS IS WHAT WE INHERITED FROM THE PUP GOVERNMENT, EVERYTHING THEY SOLD OUT, THE ONLY THING THAT LEFT FOR THE PUP TO SELL WAS THE PEOPLE OK, AS LONG AS PM HAVE THE BELIZEANS IN MINE I WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT HIM, NO MATTA WAT!!!!!!!!!
    WITH PATIENCE AND PRAYERS FOR OUR LEADERS OUR COUNTRY WILL SURVIVE ALL THESE CRISIS.
    BUT WHENEVER OUR LEADERS LIKE SHAKRON AND MOSES SULPH FIGHT AGAINST BELIZEANS FOR IMMIGRANTS THEN I AM SORRY BUT I CANNOT SUPPORT YOU GUYS.

    SO TO PM I SAY YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS OK I PRAY FOR WISDOM THAT GOD WILL GUIDE YOU IN MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY OK.
    ALL THAT IS HAPPENING IT REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF OF A WOMAN LIVING WITH AN ABUSIVE MAN, WHO LEFT HER AND HER CHILDREN IN THE COLD AFTER SPENDING ALL HIS MONEY ON HIS SWEETHEARTS, POOR WOMAN LEFT TO TAKE CARE ALL ON HER OWN, HER POOR CHILDREN TO SURVIVE ON THEIR OWN, AND BANK BILLS TO PAY,HOUSE MORTGAGE ALL ALL THAT COMES WITH IT, NOW THIS POOR WOMAN FIND ANOTHER MAN WHO IS WILLING TO TAKE HER AND HER CHILDREN, BUT MY!!! THERE ARE A LOT OF BILLS THE PREVIOUS MAN LEFT HER WITH, SO NOW THE NEW MAN HAVE TO WORK HARD FOR HIS NEW LOVE AND HER CHILDREN, THERE ARE A LOT OF OBSTACLES, BUT YES HE IS WORKING HARD, HMMM SOMEDAY THINGS WILL GET BETTER FOR THEM HOPEFULLY, AS LONG AS THE NEW MAN IN HER LIFE STAND BY HER AND HER CHILDREN DURING THE POOR PERIOD IN THEIR LIVES. THAT WOMAN NAME IN BELIZE.

  16. EMS says:

    Belizean socialism/nationalism Barrow style???? When will we nationalize the failing prison system? and in the making national transportation system?

  17. blvnjah says:

    @JUSTICE—————-SAD TO SAY, BUT I THINK U ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    CONSISTENT RELIABLE ELECTRICITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN MYSTERY IN BELIZE.

  18. Mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    Exactly what needs to be done nationalize BEL they are very vindictive and constantly holds the people of Belize hostage by turning off the power whenever they cannot have their way with the GOB or the PUC even when they were making big profits if they were penalized for every minute the power is turned off maybe they would have done a better job. Remember, My Legacy B 4 My People.

  19. Voice Of Reason says:

    I Concur with most of these prior comments knowing that they are pointless and will most likely play no role in changing the status of my home country.. (sigh) I’ve come to learn that Democracy has taken a new Definition in our country :
    Democracy: The state of affairs in which you consent to having your pocket picked, and elect the best man to do it.
    I pray that God may awaken the conscience of our P.M and remove the Ignorance from the minds of our people.
    Jah Ova All! (voice of reason)

  20. Fedup says:

    belizeans own BTL and we still have some of the slowest internet speed and at the highest prices in the world. so where’s the benefit, only LOIS, ANWAR and close friends benefit..

  21. Elgin Martinez says:

    If Belizean tax-dollars is been used to bail B.E.L out then common sense would tell us that it should rightfully be own by the Belizean people.

  22. Joe McGuire says:

    We have never owned BTL, the sun burnt Mr. Clean owns it, he just wants to own everything and just watch, if he takes BEL as well then before general elections BEL and BTL will be sold to a Barrow for $20, then they will own everything.

  23. Earl Grey says:

    @Westernmaid……………….that “INHERITED FROM PUP”….. argument is OLD.

    HE Dean Oliver Twist WANTED THE JOB AND KNEW WHAT HE WAS GETTING INTO.

    The excuse “INHERITED FROM THE PUP”….. just DOES NOT FLY ANYMORE…..they had 3 years.

  24. Chris Minty says:

    Dear Friends – For info – Fortis Inc. the owners of BEL is the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada, with total assets of approximately $13 billion and fiscal 2010 revenue totalling approximately $3.7 billion. The Corporation serves approximately 2,100,000 gas and electricity customers. Its regulated holdings include electric distribution utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries and a natural gas utility in British Columbia. Fortis owns and operates non-regulated generation assets across Canada and in Belize and Upper New York State. It also owns hotels and commercial office and retail space primarily in Atlantic Canada.

    Why would they let BEL fail ? – you work it out !

  25. I Have Awaken says:

    Strategic, tactical move to get GOB/PUC to hike the rates, thus translating to them raking in higher profits. If you really feel sorry for this person/BEL (yes, a corporation is considered a person under the law) you are sorely mistaken, these corporations have tactical strategy to get what they want and they are sociopaths by nature and will go to whatever lengths necessary, to do so.

    This, my fellow Belizeans, is what is called a dog and pony show or: problem (planned black outs) – reaction (by the people: we need to do something OMG) – solution (bait: we may have to take back this company BUT Young is in Canada working on a solution; we will know on Friday).

    June 10, 2011 will be a very interesting day for Belize.

  26. get it right says:

    While the privatization of a public utility has its benefits, such as new technology, a public utility should be kept public as the benefits to society is or should be far greater. Lets face it, we all know Lynn Young is incompetent and this is something i’ve said for years. This is all a gimmick for BEL to try provoke GOB to agreeing for a raise in price. Mr. Barrow is right in saying that BEL should be for Belizeans, and i firmly believe that if GOB has to bail out BEL, then Belize should own the company. Lynn makes 8 million to do nothing but run the company to the ground. Take back BEL.

  27. patty says:

    people people don’t get fooled BEL is Not BROKE google fortis inc an you will see in the last quart they made $114 mill read fortis mision statement then you will get the sense, barrow is just another politian an he has to do what he has to do to look good for his vote. Mr lynn young should be ashame of himself he is the real belizean spy…..not at all for belize.The bottom fact is BEL should have never being sold to a greedy an no minded company like fortis inc.So please do what I told u alll an google fortis inc then u will see where am coming from.

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