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Dec 16, 1999

Fortis CEO comments on Chalillo

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On Wednesday night’s newscast we reported on the visit of World Wildlife Fund President Kathryn Fuller, who threw her not inconsiderable weight behind efforts to prevent construction of a hydroelectric dam on the upper Macal River. Tonight we hear from a man who, more than any other, will actually make the decision whether or not that project will proceed. Stanley Marshall is the CEO of Fortis Incorporated, the Canadian power company which recently spent around fifty million Belize dollars to purchase a controlling interest in B.E.L. Trained as an engineer, Marshall wasted no time in getting to the point in a press conference following Wednesday night’s annual general meeting. The position endorsed by W.W.F., he said, was flawed, and that determining the economic viability of the Chalillo Project will largely depend on the outcome of negotiations with the current owners of the Mollejon hydro facility.

Stanley Marshall, CEO, Fortis Incorporated

“Our position is that if it is proved to be the best choice economically, environmentally we are going to do it. To date the studies have been pretty positive. It does, however, recognize that the economics will be dependent on the relationship with the owners of Mollejon facility. There has to be negotiations with the owners of Mollejon and that will determine fundamentally the economics at the end of the day.

We’re not in the business of developing non-economic projects. We’re in the business of making money, doing the things that are best for our customers. The test is, are the people prepared to put up their money, to do just that: put up their money.

It we think it’s uneconomical, we’re not going to develop it at all nor would anybody else. Other people have an interest in developing it and we have interest in developing it as well.”

Contrary to popular opinion Fortis, by international standards, is a relatively small power company serving customers primarily in Newfoundland, Canada. These markets with small populations spread over large areas, closely resemble the situation in Belize. In his address to the shareholders Marshall noted that as part of the Fortis group B.E.L. and its employees would be able to access all the technical expertise and training opportunities available to its Canadian affiliates.

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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