“It is a day of celebration”, said Prime Minister Dean Barrow as he announced in a press conference today that government has settled its issue with Fortis International, which has conceded its majority shareholdings to GOB. According to the PM, the negotiation process was “greatly accelerated” after Barry Perry was appointed Fortis’ new Chair a month ago. The PM said that GOB will be now paying seventy million Belize dollars to Fortis as settlement.


Screen_Shot_2015-08-31_at_8.35.10_PMHonorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“As compensation totality for GOB’s original acquisition of all of Fortis’ 70% shareholding in BEL, GOB will now pay to Fortis US$35 million Dollars in cash, BZ$70 million, and GOB gives back to Fortis a thirty three and a third shareholding interest in BEL, government keeps the rest of the 70% it had acquired and together with SSB which has something like 26.9% we will continue to own well in excess of the 51% mandated in the constitution and required for majority ownership and control we expect the new arrangement to serve BEL and Belize well.  Fortis’ long established multinational role in energy generation and distribution plus it familiarity without local circumstances should seek contribute greatly to BEL further advance and development their expertise and resources will also help Belize in its quest for energy security and sustainability in particular Fortis’ interest in renewable especially solar can no doubt ultimately redound to our national benefit.”


And should this agreement not work out in the near or long run, the PM says they have made arrangements for an “opt out”.


Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize


“After four years or earlier upon the happenings of specified events Fortis can serve notice that it wishes to sell back to GOB it shareholdings, GOB then immediately reacquires but will have two years to pay for that reacquisition on the basis of the value of the shares at the time of the buying, to complete the circle GOB has undertaken that Fortis will be completely free to continue without hindrance to lawfully operate BECOL its other interest in Belize truly the  this is turning of the page revitalize partnership with Fortis and they accepted basis of majority Belizean ownership of our essential electricity utility company.”


So what is Fortis saying? Chair Barry Perry says that the settlement is a significant event which will allow the company to “continue to participate positively in Belize”.


Barry Perry – Fortis Chair


“We believe that the extensive operational experience and technical resources that Fortis has will prove very valuable to the country of Belize. In conclusion I’ll share a short story with you all. At one point in our negotiations the Prime Minister referred to me as the Shiloh. I have to admit I did not know the meaning of the word. I did look it up however. It’s a biblical term and it means ‘one who brings peace.’ Prime Minister I hope that what we’ve done today will be the start of a long and peaceful relationship between Fortis and the Government of Belize.”

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