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Dec 5, 2019

House Debate Hydro Maya Power Project Bill

Dean Barrow

The House sitting on Wednesday was chock full of pressing matters. The House passed the Hydro Maya Power Project Bill, 2019 which seeks to give effect to certain undertakings and obligations of the Government. Those obligations are in connection with a concession agreement for the establishment and operation of a hydroelectric generating facility in Belize. The bill also seeks to provide for certain exemptions from taxes and duties. According to information, for more than ten years Hydro Maya has been providing electricity to Belize Electricity Limited.  The Belize Hydroelectric Development and Management Company, which owns Hydro Maya, obtained a fifteen-year-concession in December 2008. Prime Minister Dean Barrow introduced the bill for second reading saying that the P.U.P. government under the leadership of the late George Price gave the concession, a statement that came under challenge by the Opposition side.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This is as the name makes clear a bill to give effect to undertaking which the last government via the instrumentality of I believe the then Prime Minister Right Honorable George Price and Minister of Finance entered into with this Hydro Maya outfit. The exemptions that are set up in this bill are precisely the exemptions that Mr. Price purported to give to Hydro Maya under the contract. The contract contained a clause for renewal and the Hydro Maya people in accordance with the contract that Right Honorable George Price signed came to us for a renewal. We took legal advice because we had grave reservation as to whether the then Minister of Finance had the authority without coming to parliament to in fact give the facilitation that he purported to give.”

 

Said Musa

Said Musa, Area Representative, Fort George

“Well if this agreement was indeed signed on the twenty-night of July 1998 by the Prime Minister at the time then it would have been the Right Honorable Manuel Esquivel because the election was not until August twenty seventh 1998 when I became the prime minister. So perhaps Right Honorable Prime Minister you might be mistaken who signed the agreement.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No mistake at all Madam Speaker. Why don’t we get the right honorable George Price’s nephew good Financial Secretary Joe Waight to bring a copy of the agreement so that you can see.”

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Area Representative, Freetown

“On July twenty ninth 1998 George Price was not the minister of finance. He was not the Prime Minister of Belize. It was the Right Honorable Dr. Manuel Esquivel. So if you are saying that it was George Price who signed the agreement then this is in fact is incorrect and the date has to be changed.”


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