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Jun 20, 2011

P.M. says job security for B.E.L. workers; C.E.O. Young resigns

P.M. Barrow stood solo while speaking on the takeover.  He paused to address what he referred to as personal attacks by Lynn Young, now the former C.E.O. of B.E.L.  Barrow denied that the government had intended to usurp Fortis’ shares in B.E.L. by using the Public Utilities Commission as a pawn. Barrow said that B.E.L. is insolvent and it was evident in the company’s last financial report.  Young’s resignation on Friday wrought more concern from employees but according to the Prime Minister, the transition should be smooth.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“No one at B.E.L. need fear for their job. I have spoken to officials of the B.E.L. workers union, which fully supports Government in its move, and communicated this to them. It is the same thing with management. Mr. Young has already indicated that he will not stay, and there are suggestions that other members of Executive Management might also wish to go. We have our plans in place for that eventuality. But nobody will be forced out and managers are free to stay.

It is only the Fortis shares that we plan to acquire, so there will be new members appointed to the Board to replace the Fortis Directors. But the SSB Directors and the Chairman, appointed long ago by the government of Belize under the golden share, will naturally remain. So will the one other Director also appointed by government under the golden share. An interim C.E.O. will be installed immediately to replace Mr. Young, and he will be supported by an executive committee of the Board. We expect as smooth a transition as possible.

In talking to the two Energy Workers Union officials I earlier mentioned, I was reassured that B.E.L.’s employees are confident that they can make the company successful under the new dispensation. Mr. Young himself also declared to me that he considered the company very strong in terms of the training, skills and discipline of its workforce. The point I am making is that the government has every faith that we can make this work. All the Chicken Littles that decry a government takeover on the ground that it will lessen efficiency need to screw their courage to the sticking place. “This time no stand like before time”. The bad old days of political interference in statutory bodies or Government-owned companies, are gone forever. This administration will not countenance that and in any case the citizenry won’t stand for it. Neither B.W.S.L. nor Telemedia is run along such lines, and that is the proof right there. And, after all, the much vaunted private sector superiority certainly did not prevent B.E.L. from the failure that is a current, undeniable fact. Now whatever the reasons for that failure, we know we can do better. Assurances to this end will also be provided, we believe, when people see the quality of the new C.E.O. and Board Members.”

Starting Tuesday the brave new world inside B.E.L. as well as quality of the new board, Barrow referred to, will reportedly be led by Jeffrey Locke, B.E.L.’s new C.E.O.

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1 Response for “P.M. says job security for B.E.L. workers; C.E.O. Young resigns”

  1. The Educated One says:

    All this political stuff aside, Mr. Jeffrey Locke’s character speaks for itself. I have NO doubt that under his leadership, B.E.L. will thrive!!! Congrats Mr. Locke! The legacy you are creating is an encouragement to young men in Belize!!!

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