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Aug 30, 2019

Senators Express Concerns over Liquefied Petroleum Gas Project Bill

The Liquefied Petroleum Gas Project Bill was today debated in the Senate. The Government and the National Gas Company have entered into an agreement which the Prime Minister has labelled as public/private partnership for the establishment, operation, and transfer of a liquefied petroleum gas terminal and facilities for the proper rationalization of cost, supply and pricing. The agreement also seeks to enhance the L.P.G. sector, optimize price control and interest to the public. The company will be directed by Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, Brad Freking, Doctor Gilbert Canton, former Chief Executive Officer of Belize Natural Energy Limited and Marion Usher, son of late credit union founder Jane Usher. The Belize Business Bureau came out firing at the Barrow Administration, saying that the agreement which establishes another monopoly is the worse idea over the past ten years. While the Company has been afforded several guarantees, Senators today questioned what positive direct impact would consumers see.  There are questions over how the monopoly will be regulated. 

 

Osmany Salas, Senator for NGOs

Osmany Salas

“Our primary concern is security of supply and better prices specifically increased saving for the consumers. What is better? What we have now or increased competition? Considering economies of scale, would the monopoly be able to obtain competitive prices if all they will buy twelve million gallons of LPG annually?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Senator

“Similarly we have one company providing water. We have one company providing electricity. Some things are just natural monopoly. So you a have a company now that is going to be, yea a monopoly but you have a bureau of standards that will be regulating that monopoly.”

 

Elena Smith, Senator for the Unions

Elena Smith

“With this we note that there is a guaranteed rate of return for the owners, those persons who have shares in this company. But for us as consumers there is no guarantee. What it means then to us is that while these persons will be assured of getting a fixed money at all times, we the consumers are not sure. What will be the cost to us?”

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Private Sector 

“There are many things that are good about this contract. There are many things that we would have not enjoying seeing. We would have preferred it coming to us well before  because there has been millions invested already by the shareholders, thirty nine or forty percent still being owned by a  foreigner, twenty five percent being given to the government and the rest by smaller shareholders including Mr. Panton and other Belizeans players which we know.”

 

Michel Chebat, Lead PUP Senator

“The government has done nothing in this legislation to ensure that the Belizean public will benefit from the savings that this company will have. They have done nothing. They have legislative a formula to determine the wholesale price. But it stops there. There is nothing guaranteeing us  that we will see the cost of LPG going down. There is nothing guaranteeing us that Belizeans families will be able to put food at a cheaper price on their tables.”


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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