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Jul 4, 2016

COLA Remains on the B.T.L./S.S.B. Offensive

Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Barrow held a press conference to explain the Belize Telemedia Limited arbitration award, as well as government’s interest in selling its shares of B.T.L. and Belize Electricity Limited to the Social Security Board.  Since then, the grassroots organization, COLA, has been vocal in its objection to the proposed sale.  It is calling for an immediate halt on the sale of those stocks to any entity, despite a decision taken by the board.  As part of COLA’s latest campaign, legal advice on the legitimacy of the pending sale has been sought.  Today, President Geovannie Brackett called on economist Patrick Rogers to shed light on the financial implications of government’s decision to sell fifty-five million dollars in its share of the utilities.

 

Geovannie Brackett

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“COLA maintains that that investment by the S.S.B. is not a good one, for the reasons we reiterated last week.  We believe that the investment committee could have very well created a new industry, something unique.  I think there are a lot of Belizeans out there who have degrees and who have very good ideas, whom the Social Security Board can actually look at those, give maybe for copyright, give a percentage to that individual and let the Social Security Board take up majority ownership of that industry.  I think that there’s a lot of evaluation that could have been done and analysis before jumping into that B.T.L. investment, as if though B.T.L. is the only big thing in town.  Maybe it is the only current, big thing right now but for a country that has so much resources I think that the Social Security Board could definitely have created a better investment idea.  One other thing that we have to caution is that I think that the general council for the N.T.U.C.B. who have the two representatives on the Social Security Board and, I believe, a rep on the investment committee.  I think the N.T.U.C.B. by extension needs to give a thorough explanation to this country.  Why it is that they voted the way they voted and why is it that it was done so quickly?  And also, we at COLA would want to know if that was presented to the social partners on the S.S.B. board, why weren’t they given a leak, at least to the media to say these are the reasons why.  I know that the media had broken the story, in terms of the investment idea but I think that there was much more that could have been said by the social partners prior to making a decision post haste.  And so there are a lot of dark clouds over this decision and I think that as the days go by you will definitely be hearing and COLA would be networking with other organizations to look at it.”

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