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Dec 4, 2019

The L.P.G. Price War is On!

Today’s house sitting in Belmopan was fiery and spirited as the LPG price war wages.  Prime Minister Dean Barrow is loading the government’s arsenal, expecting some sort of retaliatory effort from the three major butane importing companies which are owned by one Mexican family. On November sixteenth, the government announced fixed prices per gallon of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, that is butane gas. This is two weeks after LPG importers Belize Western Energy Limited, Gas Tomza, and Southern Choice Butane (Zeta Gas) began selling butane at a much cheaper price. The companies’ actions are interpreted as a reaction to the anticipated National Gas Company which would be the sole importer of butane in the country. GOB says that the fixed prices are necessary to prevent predatory pricing by major importers who have engaged in an act of driving prices down well below the maximum ceiling for retail and wholesale of LPG. For consumers, low prices are good news but the government believes that the companies are focusing on driving out about twenty-five local retailers out of the market. The Opposition criticized the Government for protecting the local retailers and not the consumers. 

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Rep., Caribbean Shores

“I believe madam speaker that this particular Ac is a direct a assault on the vast majority of poor and middle class Belizeans, Madam Speaker, because they are the consumers of butane and even if it is only for a temporary, short period of time that the distributors in the city and in the country are providing this low price of butane why are we attacking poor people especially at this time of the year.”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“I’ve heard government’s protecting the consumers from price gouging, wanting to make sure that the suppliers will not take advantage of the consumers. I think this is the first time that the government is protecting the suppliers that they cannot go low below a certain price. This is madness Madam Speaker especially during these times Christmas times, everyone will do a lot of cooking, a lot of baking and yet the government would not allow the competition to reduce the price. It really makes absolutely no sense.”

 

Cordel Hyde

Cordel Hyde, Area Rep., Lake Independence

“Maybe I am missing something but I would think that we would pass to protect the majority of people not a handful of people. We should bring legislation here not to protect or defend twenty five retailers but we should support any kind of pricing, mechanism that would bring down the prices of ordinary people. Seventy percent of all household in this country use butane so how are we going to be reactionary when the price is coming down. This is the most unusual act. If these importers, distributors, retailers can bring down the price of butane to this low it means they could have been doing it for many years. It means that the ordinary people of this country have been fleeced, have been shafted. I am not in the business of being shafted. Don’t come to tell me it is something that you people will shaft us, it is locals that will shaft us, it is not foreigners who will shaft you.  I don’t care who it is, I don’t want anyone to shaft me.”


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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