While headlines have been dominated with COVID-19 related issues, there are still pressing matters that have been happening on the national front. One such matter pertains to the importation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) into Belize. Last year, the LPG Project Bill made its way through the House of Representatives. This bill would give legal status to the Belize National Gas Company (NGC). This would then give the government a chance to veto the current gas importers, namely Gas Tomza Limited, Southern Choice Butane and Belize Western Energy Limited. These three companies are essentially run by one Mexican family, and have had the power to hold GOB hostage in the past. This is what prompted the government to aim for a nationalized gas company, which has left these Mexican companies high and dry. They took the government to court late last month and filed a Notice of Appeal against the recent decision of Acting Chief Justice, Michelle Arana, that denied them from getting an interim injunction in relation to their pending Constitutional case before the court. They had applied for an interim injunction to restrain GOB from refusing to issue LPG import licenses that are required by the claimants to operate after April 30, 2020. Chief Justice Arana ruled in favor of the defendants on April 24. In a press release dated yesterday, the LPG importers stated that April 30 was the last day they would be importin LPG as they are now being blocked from importing LPG or butane gas into the country. They are still waiting for a court date for their Constitutional Claim. In the meantime, they are warning Belizeans that the NGC would create a monopoly on LPG, and is majority owned by a foreign entity named BWT Holdings LLP based in Minnesota, USA. According to the LPG importers, this new company will not pay any taxes for fifteen years while operating outside the boundaries of the law that previously governed them for 30 years. The company will not even pay environmental taxes, despite now being a major environmental hazard. The release ends by saying that currently, there is a limited supply of LPG available to the public for distribution, since the Belize Bureau of Standards has refused to give the importers their importation license and since the NGC has not been able to indicate how it plans to distribute LPG to consumers as well as what the new sale price will be. According to the importers, they are not governed by the Supplies Control Act, which usually sets control prices for LPG in Belize. Love News is continuing to follow this story and will have more information in tomorrow’s newscast.
While headlines have been dominated with COVID-19 related issues, there are still pressing matters that have been happening on the national front. One such matter pertains to the importation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) into Belize.