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Jun 3, 2011

Prime Minister says the government won’t always bail out BEL

BEL’s CEO Lyn Young has made it clear that an increase in electricity rates would alleviate the cash flow problem of the company. The government has made advanced payments mounting to four million dollars to assist BEL. And though the P.M. concedes that at least half of the country would be without power on a rotational basis if the government doesn’t continue to make these payments, Barrow indicated via phone from his office in Belmopan, that BEL needs to get its act together.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It would be a situation that would be intolerable; it would be a situation that we cannot afford to have materialize.”

Jose Sanchez

“Mister Young says that they are paid up for maybe the next ten to twelve days. After that there is a possibility of rolling blackouts around the country. Essentially he believes it is either up to government to some how step in or maybe for their parent company, which he doesn’t feel would put more funds in.”

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“But I don’t understand how Mr. Young. BEL is the licensed service provider, it is not government’s problem except that government has to be concerned that the country doesn’t suffer. And this is what has upset me, every time for BEL to say simply we can’t pay anymore, government has to find a way to pay. Man it’s not government that is the owner of BEL. That strikes me as a callous abdication of responsibility and it’s very, very upsetting. I am saying to you Lyn Young and BEL has to do better.”

Jose Sanchez

“Mister Young says that on one hand the government is assisting by it paying its bill. However he believes the PUC, as an arm of the government is really what is causing the problem with the court cases and also with not willing to allow it to increase rates.”

Dean Barrow

“The public, I am sure, will completely and perhaps violently disagree with Lyn Young. When circumstances were such that a rate reduction was mandated by PUC, Lyn young and BEL went to court for an injunction—that has never ever happened. No doubt, the circumstances have now changed so that a rate reduction would no longer be feasible. But how can Lyn Young and BEL explain the fact that when times were better, when oil prices were low, when there was a determination that the people of this country ought to benefit from a rate reduction, he and BEL did not comply. And to turn around and say now when they want rate increase the PUC should just automatically give in to them, when it fact when it was on them by operation of law and a proper determination to give people the benefit of lower rates they didn’t do it.”

Jose Sanchez

“Does the government have any interest in nationalizing BEL and will it help in the coming weeks?”

Dean Barrow

“No, no to nationalize BEL makes no sense to me for all sorts of sound economic social policy reasons—that is off the table. In terms of what will happen in the coming weeks, the government unlike BEL can’t shirk its responsibility. But I have said to BEL and to Mister Young, there is a point beyond which we cant go meaning that we simply will not be able to find the bulk funds they keep requiring from us every twelve days or every fourteen days.”

BEL also has obligations to the Caribbean Development Bank and other creditors including BECOL which it owes over twelve million dollars. The CFE debt currently stands at eight million dollars. In the next sitting of the Court of Appeals, the electricity company is fighting the PUC’s rebate to consumers which is estimated to be over fifty million dollars. The Prime Minister said that the government will oblige and make prepayments as long as it is able to. We’ll have more details on the BEL debt on Monday.

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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6 Responses for “Prime Minister says the government won’t always bail out BEL”

  1. LSM says:

    thats to see how much he care for his belizean people the have there source how to get power we dont

  2. Moron Country says:

    Wonder if GOB had spent that money on alternative power, such as solar and/or wind turbines, to power Government facilities, if it would have been feasible. All GOB buildings should have alternate power supplying them as well as all hospitals, schools etc….this country is small and our GOB can save tons of money by investing in these alternative power right now so that we will be secure in the future. Dean “Baby” O you should stick to law and give the leadership of this country to someone who knows what they are doing, you and your family have already made enough money from Belize tax payers.

  3. mick says:

    It was a mistake to go into this energy system with Mexico at such a scale, but it is what it is. We must now look into finding some solutions. One suggestion is to put BEL under receivership and have a team of management analysts go through the organization and look at their practices. There should be documents available before this contract with Mexico, when things were under the old system. Do a revision and even if it means and initial big financial exposure that will result in savings in the long term, so be it. We have to start somewhere as this what we have now is not sustainable!
    Government has to be heavily involved as this encompasses more than just electricity. This includes the well being of the population, national security, quality of life, etc. I know the PM may be a tad reluctant as the opposition will try and make political hay out of this, but he should not fear to move forward. Only idiots would not think that he is doing what he can for the benefit of the country.

  4. Zen says:

    Oil prices going up = PUMP PRICE FOR GAS going UP, etc, etc.

    When oil prices go up, the cost of everything that depends on oil goes up. As Belizeans we need to start focusing on the facts and then find solutions. Stop all the political games…. Cost of living sky high right now….we are suffering. Don’t make it worst with the games. Government… please take serious action to fix the problems facing this country. We are producing oil right…..why not look at the possibility of using our local oil sources to produce electricity???

  5. Indy says:

    I agree with Dean. It is not the GOB business except that GOB need to provide security to its people. It is BEL that needs to step up and come up with that money, no need to put taxpayers money in this because taxpayers will not get anything out of this.

  6. belizean kid says:

    dean barrow no worry bout notin. he just worry more to make more and thief taxpayers money

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