By Alexis R. Milan
The People’s United Party (PUP) are not as enthused about government’s US $35 million settlement with Fortis Energy Services over the nationalization of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) and have speculated there may even be some secret arrangement the government has not disclosed.
The PUP have demanded that the Prime Minister disclose whether or not the government, in reaching the settlement which will allow Fortis to retain 33.3 percent of shares in BEL, has conceded to give Fortis tax-breaks and for how long.
The PUP have also demanded that the government disclose the cost of legal fees paid to all attorneys who worked on behalf of GOB and BEL and in particular, Barrow and Company’s law firm. The party also questioned whether or not the deal was good for Belize and whether Belizeans would see any benefit resulting from the settlement.
“The utterly reckless, cynical and misguided policies of the present administration have added to the cause of our nation’s indebtedness and fiscal fragility by increasing debt, and refusing, until now to deal with the seizure of assets by major investors,” the PUP said.
The party also claimed that the Prime Minister used “bully” tactics, to arrive at the settlement, considering the government made the announcement on Monday took it to the House on Wednesday and expects to have the Governor General assent and Gazette it by Friday afternoon so that Fortis can be paid by Monday, September 7th.
The PUP also accused the Prime Minister and his administration of being responsible for the country’s financial and economic troubles, including local financial institutions recently losing their corresponding banking ties to “de-risking” measures.