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Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410330
06/22/11 12:56 AM
06/22/11 12:56 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 81
samba para ti Offline
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samba para ti  Offline
Wow!...what a mess. I hope they get it figured out....and soon! Meanwhile, i'm taking my boat back down to the Rio Dulce....at least their i have reliable shore power AND Sugar for my Coffee! Adios por ahora!



------------------------------------------
"I only fish on days that end in "Y" smile

Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410338
06/22/11 08:04 AM
06/22/11 08:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

GoB takes over BEL!

Governor-General Sir Colville Young this evening signed into law an amendment to the Electricity Act which permits the Government of Belize to immediately take majority control of the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), the power company which supplies over 70,000 customers nationally, from Fortis Inc. of Canada.

The move by the ruling United Democratic Party reverses the privatization process of the power provider, which began under the current Opposition, People’s United Party, when it was in office back in 1999.

In speaking of the nationalization today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, at a Special Sitting of the House of Representatives called to pass the acquisition law, described the government acquisition of BEL as “a case of necessity.”

BEL, Barrow had said, has no money to pay its suppliers and it runs the risk of having its license cancelled by the regulator, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). He also said that BEL had written Government in May, when it sought US$3 million in prepayment for electricity bills, indicating that on the weekend of May 27, the country could be faced with rolling blackouts.

Government had a choice with the Belize Telemedia Limited acquisition, which it carried out back in August 2009; but in this matter, it doesn’t have a choice, as “there will be blackouts because BEL can’t pay,” Barrow said today.

He told the press, after the Sitting of the House, that if the acquisition orders can be signed tomorrow afternoon, as soon as the orders are signed Government will assume full control of BEL.

BEL has earned in excess of $150 million in profits since Fortis first purchased shares in 1999, but Prime Minister Dean Barrow today described BEL as “de facto insolvent.” He said that the government will give BEL no more financial bailouts with Fortis at the helm. BEL’s financial fiasco has resulted in the looming threat of collapse that could see Belize chopped off from its main supplier, Mexico, and plunged into darkness, Barrow has indicated.

As we go to press tonight, there are reports that BEL’s executive management have vacated their seats even before the government takeover.

Whereas there have been reports that Lynn Young, President and Chief Executive Officer; Rene Blanco, Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer; Curtis Eck, Vice President Customer Care & Operations; and Juliet Estell, Company Secretary, have all resigned, Amandala has been informed that the management team had been terminated last Friday.

“It hardly matters whether the executive management stays or goes...,” Prime Minister Barrow told the press.

One board member we spoke with this afternoon told us that BEL’s former CEO, Lynn Young, had said he would have resigned on Friday, but he had not been told anything about the termination or resignation of senior management.

Joseph Sukhnandan, Vice President, Engineering & Energy Supply, and employee at BEL for the past 25 years, told our newspaper Monday, however, that he has been terminated and paid his pension and severance as per company policy. He told us that no reason has been cited for his termination.

Amandala was unable to reach Lynn Young when we tried calling him today. Jeffrey Locke, who has served as director of the Belize Citrus Growers Investment Company Limited, the Citrus Products of Belize Limited, and member of the Banks and Financial Institutions Appeals Board, is to be installed as BEL’s interim CEO to replace Lynn Young, although Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media today, “I don’t ...want to confirm anything at the moment,” as the official papers had not been signed.

Barrow’s law partner, Rodwell Williams, SC, who has been chairman of BEL since the Barrow administration came to office in 2008, is, according Prime Minister Barrow, standing by with the prospective interim Chief Executive Officer.

He said that Williams and Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, along with the new interim Chief Executive Officer, would immediately effect the takeover, but also assured staff that nobody is being forced out.

BEL employs roughly 300 workers. President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize, Dylan Reneau, who is an SSB director on BEL’s board, told Amandala that PM Barrow had met with union officials Friday and gave his word that there will be no termination of BEL staff. He said that the unions have a meeting slated with Lynn Young on Wednesday, after which the NTUCB would release a formal statement.

Government assumes control of BEL with a mountain of bills and very little funds to pay them—in excess of $27 million to its power suppliers, according to recent reports from both Government and BEL.

Barrow said Government has to make it work, as “the country will be faced with imminent blackouts again...” He said Government would borrow what it has to borrow, in order to make it work.

The Prime Minister said again today that BEL owes $5.1 million to BELCOGEN, owned by the Belize Sugar Industries (BSI), and he noted that the failure of BEL to pay BELCOGEN could put BELCOGEN in the position of having to default on its debt, which would trigger a call on its debt and the debt of its parent company BSI, jeopardizing the livelihoods of 6,000 cane farmers in the north.

Barrow told us that a first priority would have to be to ensure BELCOGEN gets paid, so it can take care of its debt.

BEL also owes its chief power supplier (the state owned Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico) nearly $10 million for power.

Prime Minister Barrow said that he is traveling to Mexico tomorrow to meet with President Felipe Calderon, since BEL is “right at margins of exhausting” the $10 million letter of credit that the Government had backed for the company. Barrow said that if Mexico increases that figure to $20 million, this would buy some time for BEL.

Barrow said that the Mexicans were a little bit reluctant to help BEL with further credit, because such a move would have been on behalf of a BEL owned by a Canadian multinational, but now, he “expects, hopes and believes” that Belize will get better terms from the Mexicans, including an extension of the credit line.

Additionally, he said that there will need to be an infusion of capital into BEL, “and we are prepared to go to the bank...”

“No doubt Government will have to find money to put into the company,” he said, indicating that either BEL will borrow more capital with a government guarantee or Government will borrow to on-lend to BEL.

Such proposals were floated by the Fortis-controlled BEL, asking Government to help the company to get financing so that they could pay their suppliers. Barrow indicated, however, that the government would not put further taxpayer dollars at risk with Fortis still in control of the company. He said the company ought to, and can be profitable.

The new management and board will have to get some independent auditors to look at things, and it is critical that they do that early, said Barrow.

As for pending litigation that BEL had launched against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Barrow said that a BEL now controlled by Government would withdraw the injunction that prevents the PUC from looking at rate increases. He added, however, that the PUC is not convinced BEL needs a rate increase.

Whereas the BTL matter has gone to the Supreme Court to settle the question of compensation, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, Barrow said that BEL, because of its state of financial demise and the extent of its debts, could not attract nearly as much compensation as some have been indicating in the public domain. Compensation is based on market value, not book value, said Barrow, adding that BEL is now “pretty much in collapse.”

Prime Minister Barrow said that Government would divest some of the Fortis shares, but would not return control of the company to foreign hands.

The Social Security Board owns roughly 26% and Barrow said, “SSB might want to put some more money there.” He said he has “no problem even if Social Security wants to be a majority shareholder.”

The House of Representatives concluded its meeting today during the lunch hour, and the Senate met in advance of its 3:00 p.m. scheduled time in order to ensure that the Governor-General could have the bill signed into law before the end of the workday, today.

During today’s Senate meeting, private sector Senator Godwin Hulse said of the acquisition: “This sends a very dangerous and frightening signal.”

He indicated that the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Belize Business Bureau, the two private sector organizations, undertook a poll which indicated that 68% of people polled said “No” to Government’s acquisition of BEL.

Hulse said that the concern is the way the takeover is being done: by acquisition rather than negotiation.

Senator Henry Gordon, representing the churches in Parliament, said: “This is a done deal and we understand that.” He did indicate, however, that public sentiment with respect to the BEL takeover bill is positive.

Senator Gordon underscored, though, that the costs of the acquisition are numerous, as the shares will have to be paid for. He also pointed to BEL’s accumulated debt as a concern.

Additionally, Gordon addressed public expectations that the cost of power should go down, now that the government would be in charge of BEL. Whereas today’s move might signal to some people that we can now expect a reduction in rates, the suggestion should not be entertained because of BEL’s financial status, he said. Government now has the responsibility to ensure that BEL operates in a profitable manner, he added.

Ruling United Democratic Party Senator Frank Mena said that with companies such as BEL, profits are privatized, but losses enter the public domain. This takeover, said Mena, is a case of Government asserting its sovereignty, because many times Belizeans “get chanced”.

Whereas the churches and the private sector had their say on the matter, the unions did not get a chance to weigh in, since Paul Perriott, who had been appointed Senator on their behalf, is reportedly not in the country.

For its part, the People’s United Party boycotted today’s sittings of Parliament, claiming that it got late notice of the meetings.

“The Opposition condemns the practice by the current Government of calling meetings of the National Assembly and then presenting major pieces of legislation to the Opposition when they arrive at the House of Representatives,” said the PUP.

We note that the acquisition of BEL was not listed on the agenda, and was only made public this morning through the addition of a supplementary to the agenda.

Tomorrow, a new chapter begins in the life of BEL. Amandala has learned that BEL’s board of directors is due to convene an emergency meeting at 11:00 Tuesday morning.

Amandala


Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410341
06/22/11 08:10 AM
06/22/11 08:10 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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OPPOSITION LEADER SPEAKS ON BEL TAKEOVER

The opposition People’s United Party was absent from parliament on Monday when legislation was pushed through to nationalize BEL.  But today, the leader of the PUP John Briceño expressed disapproval of the government’s takeover. In an interview at his Belize City office, Briceño says several questions now arises, chief among them is how will the nation benefit from the expropriation.

John Briceno - Opposition Leader
“Will the Prime Minister ensure the Belizean public that the employees at BEL will be protected from victimization?  How is this going to affect the employment situation in Belize? Presently we have over 24% almost one out of every 4 Belizeans are out of a job, over 30,000 Belizeans are out of a job; about 5,000 students are graduating from fourth form, sixth form and UB, will this move allow them to be able to get a job? Will this create investor confidence? These are some of the questions that are on the mind of the Belizean people.  We as a party and most Belizeans do not have confidence in this government.”

Patrick Jones - Reporter
If the PUP had an alternative what would that alternative be to the whole situation of getting BEL out of this mess that it is in?

John Briceno - Opposition Leader
“Well certainly we would not have been operating in this confrontational manner that the government operates, that the Prime Minister seems to relish; for everything it is a fight for him.  Look at his record.  This problem with some people on Chetumal Street, what did he do?  He sends the Police and BDF to break down their homes in the middle of the night, or four o’clock in the morning, he has some problem with bus operators, what does he do, he creates a crisis that the transportation system was shut down for half a day; there is a problem with football, he then strong arms it. It is like he wants to grab everybody and bend them to his, to submit to his will as opposed to sit down like rational people and negotiate.  So I could assure that if we were in Government we would have found a solution by sitting down and negotiating a way forward.”

And since the PUP disapproves of the BEL take over, Love News asked Briceño what would have been his suggestion for an alternative solution.

John Briceno - Opposition Leader
I think what is more important is that we were going to ensure that Belizeans continue to get an efficient service, a service that we don’t have blackouts.  Remember when BEL was owned by Government we used to have a lot of blackouts and rates going up and down; the whole issue of mismanagement that was with BEL when in many instances we had to use our tax dollars to keep them operating.  What is important is that we have ensured that Belizeans continue to get reliable service which is what the Belizean public is demanding.

Patrick Jones - Reporter
Will the People’s United Party then be actively involved in holding the government to its promises to not victimize the workers at BEL and to ensure that there is a steady supply of electricity going forward?

John Briceno - Opposition Leader
“Certainly, that is our job.  We have to make sure that we keep the Government accountable every step of the way.  Again it is very ironic that this was a Government that was voted on a platform of openness, transparency and accountability and everything we that have seen, these major decisions is done in secret, like they slip it in the darkness of night.  Almost two years BTL was acquired in a similar fashion.  In this case with BEL the very same thing happened, that on Friday night late at night, when our offices were closed, when our papers were delivered and there was nothing in the papers that gave any indication that there was going to be any discussion or acquisition of Belize Electricity Limited and then here he comes, springs it on Parliament to the National Assembly without any proper consultations or any serious discussions to see what are the repercussions , how is it going to affect Belizeans, how is it going to affect the country, how is it that we can benefit from such.  As it is right now the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has taken out a very strong release condemning the actions of the Government and condemning the whole issue of this managing by crisis that it seems that the government creates a crisis and then steps in and strongarms the situation.  If the Prime Minister promised to have a good working relation with the private sector, we were waiting to see how he is going to remedy that situation, how is it that he is going to improve that relationship between government and the private sector because at the end of the day, it is the private sector that runs an economy, it is the private sector that creates jobs and creates wealth in any country.

Patrick Jones- Reporter
Do you join the Chamber in condemning this move to renationalize BEL?

John Briceno - Opposition Leader
“As I mentioned earlier on that the Prime Minister made an argument that there is a crisis that the country could face black outs without giving us enough information he felt that the only way he could address the issue was to nationalize it, our question is how is it that we are going to benefit, how will Belizeans benefit from such action as he did yesterday?”

The PUP says that it’s boycott of the sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate on Monday was because of the late notification that there would be a special sitting of parliament, and that there was nothing in the documents suggesting that there would have been a move to take over BEL.

LOVEFM


Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410342
06/22/11 08:11 AM
06/22/11 08:11 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF BELIZE ELECTRICITY LIMITED NAMED

Jeffery Locke is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Electricity Limited. Aside from Locke, the other members of the Board are Chairman Rodwell Williams, Dr. Carla Barnett, Anuar Flores, Dennis Jones, Louis Lue, John Mencias, Anthony Michael and Dylan Reneau. The new board of directors convened its first meeting today. According to a release from the company the first order of business was to meet with the managers of the Company to be updated on the current operations.


Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410343
06/22/11 08:11 AM
06/22/11 08:11 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH GOVERNMENT’S TAKEOVER OF BEL

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has spoken out against Government’s takeover of Belize Electricity Limited. In its release the Chamber says it expresses strong concern over the nationalization of industries and the inevitable impact on local and foreign investment attraction in Belize. The Chamber says the Government of Belize has both the power and the duty to create an enabling environment where domestic and foreign investors feel welcomed and are encouraged to create jobs, introduce new technologies and improve the economy and thus the quality of life for all Belizeans. However, when that power is not used prudently, it can severely undermine investor confidence and destroy the economy. It goes on to say it does not believe that it was necessary for the Government to forcibly expropriate Belize Electricity Ltd. The Chamber release goes on to say this is especially true when the Prime Minister publicly announces that he is affording BEL 20 days to find a solution, and well before the expiration of that period, in haste and in the shroud of secrecy, he convenes a Special Sitting of the House and the Senate and once again abuses the norms of our parliamentary democracy and legislative process to expropriate the company in one day. According to the Chamber much less invasive methods existed for working with BEL’s shareholders, including the Social Security Board and Fortis, to resolve the current crisis. The Chamber says the path that the Government chose will instead only saddle the nation with additional hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and millions in legal fees and litigation costs that inevitably follow forcible acquisition of the interest of a multi-national company. The Chamber says it is very concerned that expropriation as a means of settling disputes with the Government is becoming a practice, and this will directly undermine and deter both local and foreign investments at a time when they are most needed to create jobs, earn much needed foreign exchange and pay our ever growing national debt.

LOVEFM


Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410346
06/22/11 08:15 AM
06/22/11 08:15 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

B.E.L. is officially state owned; government’s first day as owner

Prime Minister Dean Barrow headed to Guatemala City this morning. It was left for the acting Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega to head the team to oversee the transition assuming control of the Belize Electricity Limited. Vega, Board Chairman, Rodwell Williams and the new C.E.O., Jeffery Locke, who has worked in the citrus industry and is a member of the Banks and Financial Institutions Appeals Board, pulled up to B.E.L.’s office this morning. The Board includes new faces but the first order of business was to deal with personnel and administrative matters. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The nationalization of B.E.L. took place on Monday in the capital. After eleven thirty this morning, the Deputy Prime Minister drove onto the compound to initiate the takeover of B.E.L.

Jose Sanchez

“Can you tell us exactly what the government will be doing this morning?”

Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister

“It will be the official takeover and we gonna have our first board meeting.”

Jose Sanchez

“Do you have any idea who all will be placed on the board?”

Gaspar Vega

“Not yet.”

Vega is the acting Prime Minister since Dean Barrow announced on Monday that while in Guatemala for a security meeting, he would be speaking to Mexico’s President about B.E.L.’s relationship with CFE.

Dean Barrow

“There is a regional security summit and President Calderon of Mexico is going to be there. I have already confirmed a bilateral meeting between the two of us and of course the reason for my requesting that bilateral meeting is to talk about CFE and what Mexico and the president can do now to assist us given the public takeover of B.E.L.”

Dean Barrow

Jose Sanchez

“What happened when you went in just a short while ago?”

Gaspar Vega

“Basically I just went there to assure them the government is in full support of such a big challenge that they are undertaking.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know one of the main things you’re looking into would be the books over the past few days? Is that something that anyone would be looking at right now?”

Gaspar Vega

Gaspar Vega

“I’m certain that that is priority; the signatories for the bank—that is something that they will be looking in to for sure. I am certain that the people that have been appointed to the board have the capacity to jump in there like is aid earlier. I don’t think it is going to be easy, I think they are quite aware of that and they can take that challenge, I’m certain.”

Jose Sanchez

“Who would be the new board members?”

Gaspar Vega

“I’m not certain of all the board members. I know the C.E.O. will be Mr. Jeffrey Locke, the chairman, Mr. Rodwell Williams. There’s other board members that I know but I wouldn’t want to make mention of some and not all of them.”

Adele Ramos, Amandala

“Could you outline what changes take effect as of today since the government is not in control of B.E.L.?”

Gaspar Vega

“Basically the board. Rodwell Williams was the chairman before and he will remain as the chairman. I think there were some board members that were already there that will be kept on the board. So it’s only going to be an addition. I think, let me see, Mr. Luis Liu, the C.F.O., Mr. Anwar Flores, a board member, Dr. Carla Barnett.”

During the House presentation of outstanding debts to CFE, international banks and BECOL, concern was raised about the Belize Sugar Industries BELCOGEN plant which is also owed millions by B.E.L.

Dean Barrow

“BELCOGEN’s sole reason for being is to convert bagasse into energy for sale exclusively to B.E.L. Without B.E.L. as a buyer in good standing, BELCOGEN would ultimately also collapse. And because of the cross-default clauses, if the BELCOGEN loans are called the BSI loans are also called. It was therefore critical, in my view, that BELCOGEN should be able to assure its creditors that it will be able to collect for its electricity sales to B.E.L. Otherwise, exit now the entire sugar industry and forget everything Government had already done last year by way of rescue. The six thousand cane farmers and their families would never forgive us; the nation would never forgive us.”

Gaspar Vega

“Definitely BELCOGEN has to be on the top list because as you know BELCOGEN is tied up to BSI which is an industry that is very sensitive at the moment. We had, late last year, to come up with come ten million dollars to assist that industry and we wouldn’t want them to fall into any added problems because of nonpayment from B.E.L. for sure.”

Job security is still on the minds of the current employees. However, the only sign of a government takeover was the removal of the Fortis and B.E.L. flags, only the Belize flag remained on one flag pole. All indications are that B.E.L. will remain a local business entity.
Gaspar Vega

“I don’t think that they need to worry about that. The government is quite certain that the people that are working for this country have the best interest of the company; they have been here for some time. We definitely don’t expect to have any changes unless they themselves want that.”

Dean Barrow

“We would certainly want to talk to S.S.B. about S.S.B.’s making a further investment in B.E.L. We would have no difficulty at all with selling shares other than to S.S.B. to the Belizean private sector. Clearly you’re not going to succeed in doing that right at the start because everybody knows the state the company is in, but for down the road; absolutely. What we don’t want is for it to go back into the hands of foreigners. We’ve see where that road has led us. We do not need to retrace our steps in that regard at all.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Late this evening B.E.L. issued its first release since the takeover and gave a full rundown of board members, which also includes Dennis Jones, John Mencias, Anthony Michael and Dylan Reneau. As to the former C.E.O., Lynn Young, when we spoke to him today he confirmed that he has transferred to BECOL, which is one of the suppliers of electricity to B.E.L.

Channel 5


Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410348
06/22/11 08:18 AM
06/22/11 08:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

BEL Transition Effected Smoothly

Government officially took over BEL today - and from all indications it went smoothly. The new government-appointed CEO Jeffrey Locke went into the company's Corporate Headquarters at mile two and a half on the northern highway around ten this morning.

Other new members of the board of directors filed in for a board meeting at 11:00 am. And around 11:15, Acting Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega went in for a brief meeting with the board and he addressed the media on the way out:

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Typically I just went there to assure them that the government is in full support for such a big challenge that they are undertaking."

Jose Sanchez, Reporter
"I know one of the main things you are looking into would be the books over the past few days. Is that something that anyone will be looking at right now?"

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"I am certain that is priority, that and signatories for the bank. Those are things that they will be looking into for sure."

Jules Vasquez
"Certainly the staff here is naturally apprehensive, there has been a change of ownership and under the worst possible conditions - there is no one to even handover. You are jumping into a moving car with no one at the wheel and then the appearance of the Deputy Prime Minister might lend it a political interpretation that Gaspar Vega is here to see how much Orange Walk North people he can put into post here."

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"I don't think they need to worry about that. The government is quite certain that the people that are working for this company has the best interest of the company and they have been here for some time and we definitely don't expect to have any changes unless they themselves want to do that."

Jules Vasquez
"When we spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday he told us it was his expectation that the CEO would be here to hand over but the CEO told me that voluntarily terminated his contract on Friday. So there is no hand over, there is no one at the helm. Is this something that you all are prepared to take over?"

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"I am certain that the people that have been appointed to the board have the capacity to jump in there. Like I said earlier I don't think it's going to be easy but they are quite aware of that and they can take that challenge I am certain."

Jules Vasquez
"Have you all given them any priority directives in terms of who should we try and pay first."

Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Definitely BELCOGEN has to be on the top list because as you know BELCOGEN is tied up to BSI which is an industry that is very sensitive at the moment. We had late last year to come up with some 10 million dollars to assist that industry and we would want them to fall into any added problems because of non-payment from BEL for sure."

A release from the Board Of Directors this evening says that at its meeting today, "The Board's first order of business was to meet with the managers of the Company to be updated on the current operations."

It adds that the Board is very encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by BEL's employees and management to support the Company's new leadership, and it quotes new CEO Jeffrey Locke as saying:

"The employees and management of BEL are tremendously committed and very competent to move on with the business of this Company."

Government has appointed four new directors - assigned by right of the 70% shareholding government has acquired from Fortis.

They are: former Financial Secretary and current BTL Board member, Dr. Carla Barnett, Former CEO of BEL, Luis Lue, former Managing Director of the San Cas Group Anuar Flores, and former BEL Electrical Engineer, John Mencias.

They join the other board members who stay on, including Chairman Rodwell Williams, and Directors representing Social Security Dylan Reneau, Anthony Michael and Dennis Jones. As was noted in the interview - they take over a company where there's no one at the wheel, after the senior management left the building. Last week Friday, Fortis CEO Lyn Young terminated and paid off the entire Executive Management team - including three vice presidents and the company secretary. He also then voluntarily terminated himself. Those senior managers get far greater benefits if they are terminated as opposed to resigning.

And while the new team works to get over that hurdle, it will also have to deal with a hot blast of venom from the Belize Chamber of Commerce which condemned the takeover in an unusually strong worded press release today. It says that the Chamber does not believe that it was necessary for the Government to, quote "forcibly expropriate BEL." It adds that the Prime Minister, quote "in haste and in the shroud of secrecy…once again abuses the norms of our parliamentary democracy and legislative process to expropriate the company in one day." It surmises that quote, "the path that the GOB chose will instead only saddle the nation with additional hundreds of millions of dollars in debt."

The release concludes haughtily that:

"The (Chamber) is fully aware that its position might run counter to public opinion, but…is based on what we believe to be in the best long-term interests of Belize and not the courting of an electorate. This notion that we are not patriotic if we do not support GOB's actions is insulting and arrogant. " "We urge all political parties'…to resist from stirring anti private sector, xenophobic and racist sentiments. " End quote.

We note that the Chamber made no mention of either xenophobia, or race when Fortis President Stan Marshall famously said he doesn't know what the members of the PUC are smoking. For full disclosure, we should point out that the person listed as the President of the Chamber on its website is Kay Menzies who was a former Director of BEL for Fortis right up to the time of the takeover.

Channel 7


Bel #410382
06/22/11 01:21 PM
06/22/11 01:21 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 538
Caye Caulker
D
Dane Offline
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Dane  Offline
D
ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - June 21, 2011) - On Monday, June 20, 2011, the Government of Belize (the "Government") passed legislation and then issued an order, delivered on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, to expropriate the ownership interest of Fortis Inc. ("Fortis" or the "Corporation") (TSX:FTS) in BEL and dismiss the Board of Directors of BEL, including nominees of Fortis. Compensation remains to be determined.

At expropriation, Fortis held an approximate 70% ownership interest in BEL, an integrated electric utility and the principal distributor in Belize, Central America, following investment at the invitation of the Government in 1999. Fortis also owns Belize Electric Company Limited ("BECOL"), a non-regulated hydroelectric generation business that operates three hydroelectric generating facilities in Belize. No expropriation order has been served in respect of BECOL.

As at March 31, 2011, the assets of BEL represented less than 2% of the total assets of Fortis; the combined assets of BEL and BECOL represented approximately 3% of the total assets of Fortis.

Re: Bel [Re: Dane] #410383
06/22/11 01:40 PM
06/22/11 01:40 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,018
Sequim, WA & San Pedro
Loansum-Al K Offline
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Loansum-Al K  Offline
I noticed the BEL website is not functioning.


I'm happier than a pig in s__t...a foot on the sand...and a Belikin in my hand!
Re: GOVERNMENT TAKES FIRST STEP TO RENATIONALIZE BEL [Re: Marty] #410440
06/23/11 09:17 AM
06/23/11 09:17 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,620
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO CHAMBER RELEASE

The Government of Belize today fired back at the Belize Chamber of Commerce for its stance on the takeover of Belize Electricity Limited. A government press release says the Chamber is wrong on its opinion that the move will hurt investor confidence and thus feels obliged to both correct and condemn the Chamber. The release says that the suggestion that there was an abuse of Parliamentary procedure in the summoning of a special sitting of the National Assembly, is patent nonsense and sounds like a politically inspired charge. Next, the official release says, the Chamber alleges that the Prime Minister went back on his promise to give BEL twenty days. GOB says there was never any such promise and that the Prime Minister had said that he had been assured by BEL that the last 4 million dollars given by Government would have bought around three weeks grace. As was made clear in the House presentation, though, it turned out that BEL was not addressing the all important question of non-payment to BELCOGEN. The lengthy government release addresses a number of other issues including the Chamber's assertion that Government acquired BEL as a way of solving a dispute with Fortis. This the official release says is an outright lie and the Chamber well knows that as there was never any dispute with GOB.

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