In his bizarre press conference during the week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow spoke at length about the situation with the public utility Belize Electricity Limited. While he didn’t come straight out and say it, for those who have come to recognize the PM’s mannerisms and behavior, the message was clear. For background, we revisit the press conference for Barrow’s comments on BEL.
Dean Barrow – Prime Minister
“What I gather is that basically B.E.L is bankrupt now as I said how it got there and what happened when they were making huge profits is quite another story. I saw in a newspaper that Mr. Lynn Young basically said well we don’t have money to pay energy from CFE, we don’t even have money to pay our sister company BECOL from which we get hydro power and so basically power will be cut off the country will be plunged into rolling if not continuous blackouts and government better solve it. Well let me put it this way government will solve it, I am not sure that there will be joy on the part of BEL and its parent company Fortis in terms of how government will solve the problem.”
Like we said, his message was very clear, and if there was any doubt it was dispelled today after a press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister. The release states that the Prime Minister met with CEO of BEL Lynn Young today to discuss the situation with the utility.
And then the move which everybody knew was coming – “The Prime Minister asked Mr. Young to convey to FORTIS INC., the majority shareholder in BEL, the Government’s interest in purchasing majority shares in BEL so as to assume control of the company.”
According to the release, Young left the meeting with the commitment to convey the request of the Prime Minister.
It’s an interesting though hardly surprising turn of events. The Prime Minister even used the same old patriotic, nationalistic spiel he perfected while hijacking BTL. Of course we know how that one turned out – while the rallying cry was to put BTL into the hands of Belizeans, the only Belizeans who benefitted in any way from that takeover was a close circle of the Prime Minister’s friends and family.