Since the usurping of B.E.L. and Telemedia a month ago, there have been questions and concerns about other companies including Port of Belize Limited that might find themselves in government’s crosshairs. Among the many questions is whether GOB will move towards nationalizing the fledgling oil industry, which is seen by some as the answer to the country’s economic woes. In his view, Marin says that such a move would turn back investors.
“Looking at a bigger picture, in the context nonetheless of nationalization and acquisitions, the question has been well why not move towards oil since you mentioned earlier it is a huge revenue earner for the Government of Belize. Why has there not been either an idea or a move towards looking at oil seriously in that particular manner?”
Israel Marin, Vice President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry
“Personally I think it would be a very, very huge mistake for government to even think of nationalizing the only oil company we have in Belize. Why? We’re only producing five thousand gallons a day. Now if we go and nationalize that company do you think the [existing] investors or the other investors will come into the country and try to really find that oil field that will put us at a hundred thousand barrels a day or half a million dollars a day? No. Why? Because after they’ve made their investment there’s the risk that you’ll become nationalized. So I think the industry is so young and so small that government should be encouraging other people to come and be doing exploration and drilling so that we could get the oil industry to where it is supposed to be.”