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Sep 15, 2015

Settlement of B.T.L. Nationalization Goes Before House of Representatives

The House of Representatives met in special sitting today. There were two main issues on the agenda—the passing of the Vesting Act relating to the sale of FCIB to Heritage Bank and the compensation for Belize Telemedia Limited.  Coming on the heels of the announcement on Monday of a settlement with the Ashcroft Group on the nationalization of B.T.L., today the Prime Minister went to a special sitting of the House for approval of that settlement, which involves a hundred and sixty-two million dollars. But that is a first payment because an international tribunal will determine the final price for the telecommunication company.  Prefacing the debate on that topic, the PM as background stated that when G.O.B. made the decision to take over B.T.L. in 2009 it was necessitated by the company being in a state of disorder.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This settlement, Mr. Speaker provides us with the opportunity to remain voters that the background to our nationalization the facts that existed at the time we nationalized. The circumstances that had been created by the People’s United Party administration represented one of the most sordid chapters in the history of P.U.P. days. Order had to be restored by this administration which pursued the nationalization on the following grounds. One, philosophically, it was, is and remains our conviction that key public utilities in this country must be owned in the majority by the people of this country. The second ground was economic; these services should be available at the most efficient prices to be Belizean consumers. And the third ground was financial; we were motivated by the consideration that to the extent possible, ownership and management of that particular public utility should be for the benefit of Belizean stakeholders and professionals.”

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