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Oct 24, 2011

Fortis challenges nationalization of B.E.L.

The nationalization of Telemedia has led to the ninth amendment and just when the Government thought the litigation was dying down, another lawsuit has landed at its doorstep. On Friday, whilst the ninth was being debated in the House, Fortis filed a constitutional challenge against the nationalization of Belize Electricity Limited which took place on July twentieth 2011. In the Claim, Fortis alleges that the nationalization was unconstitutional because the Government’s basis for the nationalization was to ensure that “the country was not plunged into rolling blackouts” was false.  According to Fortis, the Government knew that B.E.L. had enough money to take it to the end of July when the rains were expected and that there was no real threat that there would be widespread blackouts.

As to the timing of the filing, some three months after the nationalization, we understand from a legal expert not related to the case that the reason may be that Fortis will likely argue that the Ninth amendment has taken away its right to challenge the nationalization that’s is guaranteed by section seventeen of the Constitution. In other words, when the claim was filed Fortis could challenge the nationalization as not being for a public purpose and not in accordance with the procedures set out in section seventeen of the Constitution. With the passing of the Ninth Amendment, this right has been taken away from Fortis. Whilst these complex legal issues are resolved in the Courts, we understand from a Fortis representative that negotiations have not yet started with the Government over compensation. Fortis expects to present a claim before the end of the year. Local experts estimate that B.E.L. is worth more than one hundred million dollars. Aside from agreeing a value for the shares that were acquired, the ability of the Government to pay Fortis will also be a major point of contention.

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6 Responses for “Fortis challenges nationalization of B.E.L.”

  1. belizeanpride says:

    this means more money for the barrow clan fighting in court while we the tax payers pay it.

  2. Real says:

    Lynn Young himself said that there will soon be rolling black outs and that BEL did not have enough money!

    Fortis should hold its horses and wait for the Court of Appeal decision on the 9th Ammendent. Fortis’ Constitutional claim will be of no use if the Court of Appeal refuses Messrs Gill and Tillett’s appeal (which seems highly likely). The reason being that even if the nationalization of BEL would be deemed not for a public purpose, or unconstitutional for what ever reason, ammendment 8 to the constitution would bar the court from granting Fortis any relief because the Constitution would read: “majority control of public utitlities should be held by the Governement of Beilze.” The constitution would have changed in betwen the time the case is filed and the time it is actually heard.

    Any lawyer who UNDERSTANDS Constitutional Law would tell you that an ammednment to a constitution makes that amendment part of the constitution provided that such ammendment is done according to the prescribed procedure contained in the constitution itself. Also that, where two constituional provisions conflict, the provision that creates the conflict is read as an exception to the provivion which confers a right, or imposes a duty or obligation. One provision cannot invalidate another provision. It can only create an exception to a right, duty or obligation contained in another constitutional provision..

  3. rasman says:

    More money for the Barrow family runing this country indeed. Seems nobody sees this, even if they see and no like it, they seem to be ok with it as they may be have the best of their lives.
    Real: Memba the Supreme Court has put on records that anything put in the public does not represent the true intent of the person- check out the ruling on the 13 Senator
    Be careful. If we do not keep track of our history we are doom to repeat.

  4. Belize says:

    More money spent on the wrong things… fix we damn streets no please

  5. sofia says:

    We should ask oursselves how much all this litigation is costing us the tax payers. Remember that governments money is our money to be spent on healthcare, education , security for our children and us.. The ones enjoying and getting rich in these court fights are the lawyers that happen to be our prime minister ex wife and friends.. and it is sold to us in the name of nationalization. Its taking us to bankruptcy. We need to be smarter if we arre going to nationalize and as usual the ones that pay the price is the people of belize…

  6. BELIZE first. says:

    thats where all our TAX money is going to ..lois young barrow’s bank account,NO MONEY DE FI FIX OUR STREETS, FI BRING DOWN THE COST OF LIVING “NO MATTA WHAT”, FI BUILD KENDAL BRIDGE ITS BEEN DAMN TOOOOOOOOOOO LONG….she is collecting millions of $$$$$$$ and we the poor have fi pay it ALL, another 5 years of dean barrow she will be a billionaire.$$$.. in the ‘costillas’ of the Belizean people, this is not NATIONALIZATION ITS familiarization,we Belizeans no blind even the blind can note this bs nationalization.WE NO THE BENEFIT AT ALL ONLY THE BARROW FAMILY AND CRONIES,we still have to pay the high cost of callS even local calls expensive- compared to neighboring countries,and BWS,BEL.. its the same bs its companies for dean barrow and family not for Belizeans.

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