Senate Debates Saudi Loan Motion: Government Seeks $77 Million for Solar Power Plant
Today’s Senate Sitting began at nine o’clock this morning in Belmopan. The 3-hour session focused primarily on the Saudi Loan Motion. A loan motion that the government sought the approval of the legislative to borrow some 77 million US dollars to develop a solar power plant. The loan is coming from the Saudi Development Fund, and is being earmarked to construct a 60 megawatt plant. The terms of the loan was presented by Leader for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay, who explained that the loan is being given a two percent interest rate. Opposing the loan motion was opposition Senator Michael Peyrefitte.
Michael Peyrefitte, Senator: “Aside from this government acting like a junkie when it comes to money, this one is particularly strange. Saudi Arabia, Madam President, is known for selling oil through Aramco the biggest company in the world. and they are lending money through a fund to us for solar. Saudi Arabia is lending money for solar. Hmmm. A business that if everybody were to get in Aramco would be out of business. So what on earth is this about? Solar. Saudi Arabia lending money for solar the only thing that’s more ironic than that madam president it’s like getting pregnant on a pull out couch, it doesn’t make sense it doesn’t add up.”
President of the Senate: “Senator just be mindful of language.”
Michael Peyrefitte, Senator: “Sorry madam president sorry madam president. I didn’t use any bad language but I take your leave madam president.”
Countering Senator Peyrefitte’s views and comments on the Saudi Loan Motion was the Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Immigration: “Senator Michael Peyrefitte stood up and for nearly 45 minutes criticized this long motion, Madam President. History will record that he opposed it. He opposed 2% interest. He opposed use of solar power. He opposed energy security. But the person who spoke on the other side perhaps heard but couldn’t understand it. Because had he understood it one would have assumed that his brain would have told him not to say what he came here to say today. But there is a disconnection as you travel that road from the brain to the mouth. Listen to this undiluted nonsense ” because Saudi Arabia has the most proven oil reserves in the world they won’t lend you money to do solar. That, Madam President, is stupidity on stilts dressed up in a miniskirt with lipstick. As Senator Bevington Cal demonstrated in less than one minute, Senator Bennett pointed out just go on the internet, Saudi Arabia has announced and is executing a plan to provide 200 gigawatts of solar power in Saudi Arabia by 2030 even though they have the most proven oil reserves in the world.”
The independent Senators were also in agreement with the loan motion, saying that Belize is in need of additional energy sources, and that it is crucial that the country becomes energy independent.
Kevin Herrera, Senator: “It does give us the ability to move towards energy independence. I support the motion. I understand the issues raised by Senator Peyrefitte but I really believe that it’s a move in the right direction.”
Bishop Alvin Benguche, Senator: “Across the Caribbean at this time Madam President we have the small islands. Because we are blessed with an abundance of sun they’re making use of solar energy and at this time in Belize we’re blessed in the same way and we ought to make use of that aspect. Madam President certainly from where I stand I can support what is before us.”
Elena Smith, Senator: “I will say that Belizeans deserve cheaper energy. We know that there has been this cry for quite some time now regarding the cost of living that that includes energy as well. And I will also agree that we need to move forward to energy independence or maybe we may say that it’s better that we look forward to energy security that might be the bigger goal. We also understand that this process, this loan, this project follows from the government energy road map if I got that correctly and so this is just a process in that plan. I will also agree Madam President that the interest on the loan is indeed great. 2% you know here we are paying 16,18,21% depending on what kind of loan you have and so it would only be through a government entity that we are able to negotiate those sorts of deals and so we can understand why it would be the government trying to get these loans to facilitate this sort of a project.”