Saturday, November 6, 2010



The weekend newspapers had contradictory reporting and statements from the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, regarding the BTL share offering of NATIONALIZED BTL SHARES.

The Prime Minister´s newspaper THE GUARDIAN, came out with an article and statement that said shares in BTL would pay off a 15% dividend rate at $ 5 a share. How and where he got that figure puzzles investors, who want a more legitimate and disclosed accounting and some guarantees of how this will happen.
The OFFICIAL BTL PROSPECTUS using the financials and a CONSERVATIVE net profit return per annum of $15 million per year for the immediate future, gives a return of 2.4% return on dividends. It could possibly be either a percentage point, lower or higher, depending on circumstances. Other newspapers, also gave interesting but unsubstantiated versions of how this 15% return guarantee would be achieved. It was suggested that there was talk in the corridors of power, the Prime Minister's office, that the Government under the Prime Minister would cause to be passed in the parliament a bill to cancel the INCOME TAX for BTL. Since Lord Ashcroft also had that privilege by SECRET AGREEMENT by the previous Prime Minister, that did the same thing and was not by that alone ( income tax free )able to get a 15% return without around $7, or $8 million extra per year from a government subsidy, there is no reason to believe that being income tax free, would perform any better now. You cannot believe a soft soap, snake oil salesman, and obviously what the voter investors are being fed, is just bombast and disinformation, unless backed by a legal agreement showing how the government would subsidize, the dividend returns with BTL to reach a 15% return by dividends, as stated as FACT in the Prime Minister's newspaper.
The investment picture for BTL is very shaky. Lots of news, but nothing you can take to the bank. The picture is made worse, because there is no public trading in BTL shares and is therefore a BLACK HOLE in which you invest your money and cannot later in an emergency get it back out by selling your shares. There is no mechanism for providing liquidity in BTL shares.
The idea that PM BARROW who Nationalized the shares of Lord Ashcroft legal entities holding shares in BTL previously,that had a SECRET AGREEMENT from the previous Prime Minister, Said Musa of the PUP guaranteeing a return of 15% to Lord Ashcroft, previously, turns the whole reason for NATIONALIZATION OF LORD ASHCROFT'S shares in BTL on it's head. The government of that period had to take money ( millions of dollars ) out of General Funds, to subsidize Lord Ashcroft and or give up BTL corporate income tax credits, as a balancing mechanism.
The investment picture in BTL, is confused, murky and clouded with the smoke of inaccuracies and rumor. Nobody doubts that BTL is a good profitable company. The question is how do you get a decent return on investment for your capital and at what rate in the marketplace. The answer is in a stock market for trading BTL shares, in which buyers and sellers, by supply and demand show the actual daily true value of the company, based on performance through a fluctuating share price.
The idea that the Prime Minister can pass a BILL in parliament to forgive income tax seems ludicrous in the open telecommunications market that Belize is enjoying now, with lower internet prices and other advantages achieved by competition. If the Prime Minister gives BTL a break in taxes, then ALL companies would have to get the same break. That means SMART, SPEEDNET, CENTRAL CABLE and any other startups waiting in the wings. BTL may be government controlled now by NATIONALIZATION, but it is still a PRIVATE COMPANY FOR PROFIT in competition on a fair and level playing field with others. To suggest that Nationalization could give preferential sort of government breaks to BTL alone, would simply set the country back a few decades in development. Let the playing field be fair and competitive and see where it leads.
The Prime Minister's colonial exploitation legal experience is one of the obstacles stopping Belize from developing, as explained by Dr. Hausman, in his lecture recently on the complexity of change, facing the government of Belize, in the civil service and political policy changes needed to foster the development of the PRIVATE SECTOR to expand in different, new and diverse ways. Fitting BTL into the open market competition is obviously one of the ways, that government seems lacking in adaptability.

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