REPORT #212 March 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

In the Reporter of March 12, 2000.

In Robert Tillet's article he states:

" In 1989 the then Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Chairman of BEB proceeded to negotiate the Mollejon agreements with an International Business Company(IBC) named International Energy Equities Inc. IEEI.

The principals of this IBC were closely associated with the law firm of W.H. Courtenay and Company. Courtenay himself was a close associate of the Junior Minister of State Mr. Ralph Fonseca. Together they promoted the Mollejon project as an indispensable option for BEB. The reasons given for the unseeming haste toward hydro was;"

We all know that the law firm, or Courtenay ( don't know which one) was taken to court for some missing commissions, or something or other from the Social Security Board in the several millions of dollars. Or was this some other scandal? Might have them mixed up! Memory is hazy here.

From Robert Tillet:

" Social Security's investment in BECOL resulted in a loss of Bz $3.34 million. The Supreme Court ruled the money would have to be returned with interest."

" However, the Social Security Board and Courtenay, I understand, have reportedly engaged in a yet undisclosed out-of- court settlement." ( should be public records somewhere but they are the same clique running the government under the PUP from the old colonial capital scoundrels).

This is YOUR money they are talking about, in which you have to pay it back in higher electricity charges over many, many years.

From Robert Tillet:

"The biggest scandal, was the hydro agreement signed by the Minister of State at the time, Mr. Ralph Fonseca, who in fact did not have the constitutional authority to do so. The final contract terms were a far cry from the initial terms submitted in the tender that was won by IEEI."
You know IEEI, it is one of those fictious shelf companies called an IBC, on whom you can get little or no information. Not only did they apparently bid one tender, but changed the contract terms, thus cheating any other tenderers after the fact. Not exactly honest government is it?

Memory starts to come back now. The PUP subsequently lost the next national elections to the UDP, mostly on a widespread perception that they were robbing the country and carrying on all kinds of corruptive practices. The UDP despite being lame ducks were perceived as being less corrupt and won the election in a protest vote. I didn't remember that Ralph Fonseca was thick in the middle of this stuff. At the time, there was simply scandal after scandal with the ruling PUP, who are now our Belizean masters once again.

Robert Tillet again:

"By purchasing power in units of KVA instead of KWHours BEB was literally buying imaginary power! This new method of metering does not form any basis in industry standards and may have been the first in the Universe."
The whole deal with Mollejon Dam was so scandal ridden, it impacted on the next national elections. It was rumored and alleged in scandalous gossip, that big bucks went into private offshore accounts. But nothing other than the Social Security scam was ever proved, or caught. Even presuming, that the whole deal was kosher and full of the best of intentions, the negotiating team that arranged the Mollejon Dam deal was so inept, you would not trust them to buy your groceries at the store correctly. Yet Robert Tillet in his article says the same individuals are now doing another deal with the Mollejon Dam project for the government. Give me a break! Presuming this negotiating team were honest the first time around; as horsetraders with outside business investors, they are provincial small town klutzes with inflated ideas of grandoise self- importance and negotiating ability. Any East Indian businessman or Chinese shopkeeper would get you a better deal. The mistakes were huge on the Mollejon Dam, the first time around by this negotiating team. Which just goes to show that spreading a new governing system to the whole country and six districts would do nothing but improve national government levels. At least, there would be national debate and a referendum on such complex expensive issues. Letting old colonial capital port town politicians run government is nothing but disaster. They have no practicality, only an academic education and a swollen sense of ego. What can you expect from parasites and merchant and service providers? They don't produce anything for the country, for a reason, they don't have the ability.

Robert Tillet again:

" Because Mollejon has been so expensive BEL had to look for a cheaper source of energy to break even." (electricity imports from Mexico)

"People always point out how history has a tendency to repeat itself, but it is utterly amazing that on the issue of Chalillo, it is history repeating itself after only a decade. The players rooting for Chalillo are the same as those who were in support of the Mollejon hydro. NO ADEQUATE HYDROLOGICAL STUDIES WERE AVAILABLE TO ENGINEERS TO ESTIMATE WATER FLOW AT MOLLEJON AND THIS IS STILL THE SITUATION FOR CHALILLO."

That last sentence is enough to condemn the whole project idea. Without adequate water data, you have nothing. The only other data of importance, is whether there is granite bedrock to mount the dam.

Robert Tillet again:

" The price tab for fixing Mollejon will be another huge capital expenditure to the tune of Bz $56 million, an increase in energy rates to pay that off, and the criminal environmental destrution of our treasured river valley hertiage. The price is too high to contemplate."
Let me understand what Robert Tillet is saying here. Do you intrepret this the same way? Ralph Fonseca wants YOU the taxpayer in Belize to pay for all his and fellow negotiators of ten years ago mistakes, to the tune of $56 million? Is that what you get out of this?

Robert Tillet again:

" It doesn't make any sense. Yet in the most bizarre way, the failed initial Mollejon hydro project, because it is so expensive, has forced us to buy cheap subsidized power from Mexico in order to keep BEL afloat and electricity prices stable."
I sure don't understand Prime Minister, Said Musa? How can he let the same negotiators push a new scheme to cover their mistakes and losses to the tune of $56 million? Or is there something more nefarious at work here, like the gossip scandalmongers hint? Even so, every dollar spent on Mexican power is the responsibility and expense of the first electrical negotiating team ten years ago. Take it out of their pocket, not the taxpayers. Make that gang pay the Mexican electricity costs.

Robert Tillet again:

"To offset the fact that dry season is drier than normal, an even larger dam has now been proposed by Agra Monenco and CI Power. This has increased the capital cost of the project to $56 million and put greater pressures on economic returns."
What Robert Tillet doesn't say, is that every dollar spent in Mexico for electrical power to be imported was the fault of that first negotiating team ten years ago and who are reportedly doing the same thing for another dam now! Put that one in your pipe and smoke it for awhile! Would you hire those guys again in your work? Would you even let them be cabinet ministers with a blank Treasury Department credit card? If so, you are a darned fool! If they are the best negotiators the port town intelligentsia can produce, then they better get some cane farmers and co-operative fishermen and Chinese shopkeepers to do the negotiating. This stuff stinks!

Robert Tillet again:

"The total cost for hydropower on the Macal River is a whopping $206 million. This is big money for a small country like Belize to pay back."

"Why then is Chalillo being pushed so hard by BEL and GOB? The only logical explanation is that US $60 million has to be recovered. The previous government brokered the first agreement and is therefore indebted to make sure that this time around, that US $60 million is protected ( for the foreign investors?). GE's subtle time frame for Chalillo to be completed is before 2003.

Some real food for thought here! Would you let the same guys that negotiated the failed Mollejon Dam project do the Chalillo Dam project? It is your money they are playing with here, or your kids and grandkids.
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