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Jun 30, 2004

…and says he will release Intelco contract

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And in that spirit of disclosure and transparency on matters of public interest, this morning Prime Minister Said Musa addressed the financial crisis of the telecommunications company Intelco, and the still secret contract the government of Belize signed with the company.

Prime Minister Said Musa

?I don?t think people should expect the government to be bailing out private sector projects. Yes, the government does have a contract with Intelco. We saw Intelco as providing competition to B.T.L., to widen the scope, and give people choices. The contract has been disclosed in the sense that people know what it?s all about: it?s a fifteen-year contract in which we?ve agreed to pay them certain fees for services rendered to government. There?s no secret about that.?

Janelle Chanona

?But exactly what are the services, how much we are paying??

Prime Minister Said Musa

?All those things are in the details of the contract, which can be made available. But the point to note is this, if they do not provide the services called for in the contract, then obviously the government is not obligated to paying them.?

?In principle we have no problem with disclosing the contract, what we had a problem with was the then owners of B.T.L. wanting to use this contract to fight the government. In other words, it was a strictly vested interest battle that was taking place in the courts by B.T.L. against the government at the time. But in terms of the public knowing the details of the contract, there?s no big secret about that.?

As we reported earlier this week, Intelco has been severely downsizing its operations across the country, the result of mounting debts, constricted cash flow, and the failure to make interconnection with rival B.T.L. a reality.

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