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Jul 12, 2016

Chamber of Commerce Condemns Delay in B.T.L. Settlement

Another issue of national importance is the recent B.T.L. Arbitration Award. The Chamber of Commerce came forward to offer impartial comment on the cost of nationalizing Belize Telemedia Limited.  Prior to the release, dated today, the issue has been pretty much a political football kicked from one side of the field to the other. The government says that the five hundred and fifty million total payment for the acquisition of B.T.L. in 2009 was a sweet deal, a victory and a vindication. The Opposition says the exact opposite. So what does the Chamber of Commerce say?

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher, President, Chamber of Commerce

“We applaud the Prime Minister’s effort to try and settle this matter. We certainly don’t support the manner in which it was done and the magnitude of this nature and the size of this debt obviously is going to cost the Belizean a huge chunk of bucks. We are still working on trying to sort out all the others that are yet to come. However, there are two things that we are not pleased about; one is the length of time that it took to actually negotiate. It took seven years for you to go to the table and negotiate and then ended up in excess of one hundred and fifty million in interest alone. So if you had done it earlier, you could have curved that. So that’s one issue. Two, the nature in which it is done; it is done after we’ve gone all the legal courses, all the methods of going to the courts and challenging this all the way up to CCJ and you’ve incurred all  that legal cost. And then at the end of just before the arbitration award initiate, you go and settle. You settle a debt or an agreement and agree to not having appeal of whatever arbitration result comes out. That is like actually signing a blank check and going to the bank and going to the bank and tell you fill in the numbers. In other words, the ruling comes and you can’t challenge it because of the agreement that is signed. That is the manner in which we are talking about and that we don’t support.”

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