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Aug 20, 2019

Business Bureau Chides National Gas Company as Worst Idea this Decade

The passage of a new piece of legislation which paves the way for the formation of the National Gas Company, via a public/private partnership to regularize the liquid petroleum gas industry, is being met with skepticism and concern in certain corners of the business community.  Earlier today, the Belize Business Bureau, a productive sector organization, issued a press release criticizing the Barrow administration for establishing what essentially becomes another monopoly company.  Decried as the worst idea over the past ten years, the National Liquefied Petroleum Gas Project Bill seeks to establish, operate and transfer an LPG terminal, as well as related facilities, for the proper streamlining of cost, supply and pricing of butane.  While the proposed law which was read through on Friday sets out to put the butane industry on a normal footing, the bureau describes the move as regressive, places a monopoly tax on the poor, increases inequality, creates job losses and further unemployment, promotes social insecurity and will end up being inefficient and wasteful.  The bureau release goes on to say, (Quote) “the minister has direct control of who gets a license.  This policy is a seed bed for corrupt practices.” (Unquote)  In his explanation during Friday’s house meeting, Prime Minister Barrow iterated that government will have the say-so where the sector is concerned.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We will have the authority, Madam Speaker, because this is the company that will, as I said, have the exclusive right to bring in the LPG although those that want to distribute will be able to purchase from the company and distribute.  But we control what’s happening with pricing because we don’t have to listen, as the situation now is, to those who say, “Well we don’t care what you say.  Whatever reference point you go to this is what we say we pay for it, this is what we have to charge to get our markup and you will give us what we want, otherwise we will cut off the supply of LPG to the country.”  It is that sort of thing that this bill is supposed to fix and I repeat, in the main, if you want to get political, it is controlled by principals, huge personalities of the People’s United Party.  We have looked well past color because we think it is in the national interest, in the interest of the consumer.”

 

Principals in the National Gas Company include Doctor Gilbert Canton, former Chief Executive Officer of Belize Natural Energy Limited; Michael Bowen, President of Bowen & Bowen Limited; and Marion Usher, son of late credit union founder Jane Usher, among several others.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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