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Oct 26, 1999

BACONGO report condemns Chalillo report

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The continuing controversy over a proposed dam and hydroelectric facility at Chalillo on the Macal River is once again in the news. A release from BACONGO, an umbrella organization of Belizean environmental NGOs, announces the completion of a study it commissioned on the economic viability of the Chalillo Project. Not surprisingly the report concludes that the scheme is not economically sound and would in fact result in higher electricity costs to consumers rather than lower rates as maintained by B.E.L. For its part the public relations office of the Ministry of Finance has criticized the BACONGO report, saying that its findings are based on flawed assumptions. Citing another study, this one commissioned by B.E.L., it is claimed that the Chalillo facility is not only economically viable, but is in fact the best choice to meet Belize’s energy needs in the future. That study should be made public by next week. Despite their opposing points of view the people on both sides of the debate say they welcome an open and meaningful dialogue on the issue and are prepared to send their best troops into intellectual battle. For our part we at Channel Five are ready to provide free air time for a full exposition of the issue as soon as the participants are ready to rumble.

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