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Sep 22, 2016

P.M. Plays Down Concerns About Extra Borrowing for B.T.L. Settlement

Dean Barrow

Tuesday’s hearing at the Caribbean Court of Justice addressed a number of issues with regard to the Settlement Agreement for Belize Telemedia Limited, including the issue of paying back the former owners of the telephone company, represented by Dunkeld International Investments and the B.T.L. Employees Trust, in U.S. dollars. The attorneys for Dunkeld and the Trust argue that the payment due on thirteenth July should have been made all in U.S. dollars and not the currency split as argued by the government. The Prime Minister shied away from any question related to why the ratio for repayment of the portion of the payment attributed to the Accommodation Agreement flipped so drastically, but assured that the one hundred and fifty million Government is borrowing to help meet the second tranche is from domestic sources and easily repayable.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We didn’t know what the arbitration award would be, but from the time the award came down, we knew that we would be paying in two tranches. The first tranches in year one and the second tranche in year two so we borrowed enough to meet the first payment and it is clear that we will have to borrow to meet the second payment. This is all domestic borrowing by way of the treasury bills and notes. So we are perfectly prepared to do that next year when we will need to make that second and final payment.”

 

Reporter

“Are you worried that the once hundred and fifty million dollars that—it seems to be a huge burden—that the Belizean public may turn on you, given when they start to feel the pain of that one?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“But this is domestic paper that government is well able to service. it serves the purpose as well of trying to mop up some of the excess liquidity in the system and it gives the banks and  financial institutions another vehicle for investing in the sorts of…complying with their requirements in terms of the holdings of assets that they must have in their portfolio.”

 

We will have more from the Prime Minister on Friday on the future profitability of B.T.L.

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