Take it all Back! -Utilities will remain in the hands of Belizeans Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 July 2011 00:00

P.M. Dean Barrow talks to the massive crowd.The Prime Minister moved to once again nationalize BTL on Monday July 7th and the move was met with great hope and satisfaction from the people of Belize. Hundreds of supporters travelled to Belmopan to live in the moment that the UDP administration once again took back what rightfully belongs to them. But the re-nationalization of BTL is just the beginning of mending what the PUP did during their tenure. After presenting the government’s bill to re-acquire BTL the Prime Minister concluded his presentation by informing the Belizean people that,“I wish to declare that we in the UDP believe that the restoration of Government control over utilities- water, electricity and telecommunications-is an expression of perhaps the most dominant public purpose there can be. These utilities fall into a special category.

And consistent with Government's charge to safeguard the nation, utilities ought not to be the subject of unbridled privatization. I emphasize the word unbridled. Nothing is wrong with a partnership with the private sector, local and foreign, regarding the utilities. But Government should always keep majority ownership. In an ideal world Government would have enough money to operate utilities simply on a break-even basis. That is, consumers would pay only the actual cost of delivering the utility service and not a service provider's profit.

That, unfortunately, is not possible. Particularly with BEL there is a need for capital injection that could well come from the private sector. And a private sector partner must be allowed a reasonable rate of return. But Government should, with both BEL and BTL, be in the position of dominant partner in order to ensure that the interests of the consumer are always looked after.”And in looking after the consumers the P.M. proposed to make constitutional amendments which will prevent any government from doing away with utilities such as the PUP did in the past.  He explaind that “we intend to Constitutionally entrench Government's majority ownership of utilities so that no future Administration would be able to upset that ownership.” “So we will introduce, as soon as practicable, a Constitutional amendment Bill to enshrine the gains of the people. After the relevant consultations and assuming the support of the electorate, we will pass it into law. And we will thus complete what will no doubt be seen as the best work of this first term of the United Democratic Party Government.”

The Prime Minister’s declaration to once and for all disallow any government to sell off our utilities for the benefit of foreigners was met with thunderous applause, applause that could almost be simultaneously heard across the country as the UDP government tries to restore what rightfully belongs to the people of Belize.