BREAKING: Government reaches settlement with Fortis over BEL

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Monday, August 31, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The Government of Belize has reached an agreement for settlement, subject to approval of the National Assembly this week, with Fortis International, who concedes majority ownership in Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) to the Government.

Fortis now holds 33.3% of shares in the Government-run company; Government will pay as compensation for the 70% of shares it acquired in 2011 US$35 million (BZ$70 million). Prime Minister Dean Barrow hailed the settlement as a “turning of the page” and “revitalization of the relationship” between Fortis and GOB, as the former still holds and operates producer company Belize Electricity Company Limited (BECOL). He called the deal “good for Fortis and good for Belize.”

He noted that it was the determination of Fortis’ new chairman, Barry Perry, to bring the matter to a close and move on, and within a month of his appointment and first visit to Belize to meet with the Prime Minister, the settlement was reached. The Prime Minister also maintained that Belize had avoided dire predictions of a massive repayment for compensation and consequent troubles with foreign direct investment. Perry accepted his role as a biblical “Shiloh” – one who brings peace, between his company and Belize.

The House and Senate meet this week to authorize the deal and once that is reached the company will be compensated.

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