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Aug 31, 2015

Special Session of Cabinet to Discuss Fortis Settlement

Dean Barrow

The matter of the settlement was taken to Cabinet in special session this morning, and will go before the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.  The Governor General is expected to affix his signature by Friday. That means that the seventy million dollars will be paid to Fortis within a week with money from government coffers.  Arrangements have already been made at the Central Bank announced the prime minister. The government has faced criticism for the acquisition and it will likely face more for paying seventy million for that acquisition, while still giving back half of the shares acquired, even as it amended the constitution to keep the utility under government control. It is criticism the prime minister has no use for, since he’s convinced that in the end, the deal was a good one.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We had a philosophical position in terms of nationalism. We felt that government needed to own all the essential utility providers. So in addition to the difficulties that B.E.L. was experiencing at the time of the acquisition there is this overarching consideration of the philosophy of the U.D.P.  It was on that basis that we acquired at the time. Those very critics said that we would ultimately end up having to pay hundreds of millions for that acquisition…that we would drive away foreign investment. How those words have come back to haunt them! I don’t know how you could say that the cost to Belize of the settlement is dear. That thirty-five million US for, what would it be, thirty-six…almost thirty-seven percent of the shares in B.E.L. that government now gets to keep is, I believe, less than half of the value Fortis had put on those shares at the time of acquisition and certainly a huge discount on the share price now if you were to calculate it in terms of the last year end audited financial. So I am not going to sit here and argue with anyone who is wilfully blind. Government has succeeded in securing once and for all now majority ownership of B.E.L. and we have done so on terms that I have to feel, and I know all right-thinking Belizeans will share that opinion, on terms that are extremely favourable to this country.”

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1 Response for “Special Session of Cabinet to Discuss Fortis Settlement”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    Barrow is doing a lot of senseless jawboning to justify his bonehead decision to wrest control of BEL from Fortis in the name of his personal philosophy of stupid, ill-advised, and needless ” nationalism “. Remember that the people of Canada gifted us our sewer system despite the clown Harper as PM today.

    The philosophy of Belize must be that of fair play and honest dealing with all Belizeans and investors alike. Barrow is stupid!!!

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