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Mar 25, 2020

Contributions by Utility Companies

Dean Barrow

During his presentation today, PM Barrow also spoke about the contributions made by the utility companies. On Tuesday, B.E.L. said its hands are tied when it comes to cancellation of bills or reduced rates for everyone in Belize.  The company committed to reviewing case by case for those directly affected by the threat of COVID-19.  Today, Barrow outlined the monetary and in-kind contributions from B.W.S.L., B.E.L. and B.T.L.  He noted that the government will still be making a request for additional support from B.E.L.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“B.W.S.L. agreed this morning, upon the request of government, their Board of Directors, to offer the following relief – a one off one million-dollar contribution to the government to be disbursed upon request. So, again it makes the point that we already have enough cash in hand to take care of our health care workers and to purchase the equipment required in the course of the struggle. Also, a twenty-five percent reduction in water rates to residential customers who consume less than three thousand gallons per month. Again, that is upon the request of the government. That would work out to thirty-five thousand two hundred and thirty-four customers being sixty-five percent of the residential customers. This, in the first instance will be for the months of March, April and May with a further extension should the circumstances warrant. In terms of B.E.L., you know that they had already pledged a million dollars and they had their own press conference.   If they don’t collect money then they can’t pay for the supply of electricity. They must cover the cost of power which they themselves don’t generate. But nevertheless we have asked them to relook at their position which would mean that government itself would then have to subsidize the payment of these bills.   B.T.L. is describing their relief as amounting to in excess of seven million dollars. Here is how it’s broken down. A cash contribution of one million dollar to the COVID-19 relief fund; one point seven million dollars worth of discounts on pre-paid top up to allow families to keep in contact with each other. They are in the process of providing that now. A point six million-dollar increase in bandwidth to enable Belizeans to work and study from home and they are pledging a further two million dollars in free pre-paid top up to allow people to be able to communicate during this crisis.”

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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