Thursday, September 30, 2010



Lots of juicy news on the television news stations this Thursday evening, Sept. 30-th, 2010.

Allegations made by one Television station, that the Government ( Prime Minister, Dean Barrow/Finance Minister), has ordered the SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD to buy $50 million dollars worth of BTL shares when they come up for sale next month. The PM has seemingly plucked a number out of thin air and valued the company at $300 million dollars, with no supporting evidence to show this is true. The Telemedia company was nationalized by the P.M.’s government from Lord Ashcroft for various reasons. Mainly because he would not pay his business taxes. Off the cuff, my own valuation guesswork is about $30 million to $65 million, for the company, including the customer base, the technical equipment and any other assets, such as towers and transmitters, plus GOODWILL.

PM Barrow has been obvious in his maneuvering of the Social Security Board. He has his pet party hack puppet, Nestor Vasquez as head of the government controlled BTL, as CHAIRMAN of the BOARD. Nestor Vasquez is also CHAIRMAN of the Social Security Board Investment Committee. There is probably truth in the allegation on TV quoted from insider sources, that PM BARROW has ordered Nestor Vasquez to get approval from the Social Security Board, ( theoretically an independent institution from politics ) for a $50 million dollar investment in BTL. Does this sound like Said Musa and Ralph Fonseca speaking of the last administration?. The SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD is supposed to be independent of the political party in power. In Belize this is not so. There is no real SEPERATION OF POWERS BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCHES, or so called independent government institutions, if you want to keep your politically appointed job.

This is looking like a repeat of the LOOTING AND PLUNDERING of government institutions by the UDP government, that went on and destroyed the economy and finances of Belize under the PUP administration last term. This current government is following the path of the previous administration, increasing the DEBT to GDP ratio alarmingly. What makes it alarming is that the Belize Chamber of Commerce TV program ( Business Perspectives ) has exposed how fragile and corrupt the whole Cabinet Ministerial financial system is in our government. There are no checks and balances for government monies, and millions are disappearing without trace.

Chime in the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE who are responding to enquiries about the shares of BTL being offered, who in turn are asking the government for the last ANNUAL REPORT, the PROSPECTUS and an audit of all the technical equipment, with projections on how long it will last, before it must be replaced and modernized, projected out over the next few years. What I take it is; they want to know the BOOK VALUE of the nationalized company, to make their own evaluation of the WORTH OF BTL. They need to know the debts if any, the numbers and classes of shares outstanding, the price per share and other things. Their business members deserve this information. So do I, as we at home, were interested in buying shares if it would prove proper and profitable through a dividend payment..

The Prime Minister has responded that the PROSPECTUS will be available, October 15th. The date has been repeatedly postponed up to date. It is expected to be postponed again until mid November, as the company articles and bylaws are going to be completely revamped and changed.

Enter stage right: Lord Ashcroft with a bevy of Commonwealth expensive lawyers coming to sue, or challenge the government over a new law that is being amended, to make a CONTEMPT of COURT be finable by a $50,000 fine, or five years in jail. Mandatory minimum. The local lawyer for Lord Ashcroft says it is aimed at the good LORD ASHCROFT solely. On the other hand, Louis Young, ex-wife of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, overloaded with government work, now that her ex-husband is our Prime Minister, was asked by a TV reporter outside the court house, about this allegation by Lord Ashcroft. She laughed and said, she doesn’t know where they are coming from. Lord Ashcroft has denied for some years now, that he owned BTL, or that he had any interest in the company. She went on to say the Judges of the Court system have a long list of complaints were INJUNCTIONS were being ignored and they were not enforceable and the government is trying to correct that. Anyway, the lawyers will get rich and fight over the subject.

Things are getting hot! The spectator gallery are interested and lots of juicy fights are expected to be in store over what happens to this nationalized Belize Telemedia Company. We also think the looting of Social Security Funds to the tune of $50 million is a done deal, whether it gets wasted, stolen, or not. In our existing government system there is no check and balance to such things. Everything is a CABINET piggy bank.

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