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Feb 23, 2017

Lord Michael Ashcroft Confirms Terms of B.T.L. Settlement

In an exclusive interview with News Five in Washington, D.C. Lord Michael Ashcroft touched on a wide variety of major stories, from the settlement of Belize Telemedia Limited’s nationalization by Government and the problems with payment to ongoing wrangles over arbitration awards and the impact of the titanic struggle on Belize’s economy. We start with the previously unknown details of the famous Miami meeting between Lord Ashcroft and Prime Minister Dean Barrow, which occurred prior to the 2015 General Elections.  It has been portrayed as a surrender of terms by the latter to the former and as a negotiation of victory by the other side.  But after seven years of protracted battle, the final result was somewhere in the middle and Belize will spend more than five hundred million dollars on B.T.L, which was first nationalized in 2009.  Lord Ashcroft stated that Belize employed its best lawyers – among them the brothers Barrow and law partner Rodwell Williams – to hammer out the final deal, subject to arbitration over the share price for the telecom company.

 

Michael Ashcroft

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“It was more general; it was – we wanted a settlement and there were some broad terms that were agreed. At that particular point, it then goes to the lawyers on both sides. And from the Government of Belize’s side, they not only had the input of a major U.S. law firm; they had the eminent Belizean Denys Barrow, and I think Dean’s own firm, Barrow and Williams, were involved in the drafting of the contract, and of course the Prime Minister himself is a very able and competent lawyer. So you had the Government team, then, doing all the detailed paperwork for the contract that finally emerged, and that then went to the House (of Representatives), and the House approved it, and that is the contract to which both sides have to adhere.”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“And the settlement was primarily over loss of compensation, and the cost, or the actual value, of the company itself?”

 

Lord Michael Ashcroft

“Yes. It was what was the value of the company at the date of nationalization, and what happened in that process – the Government employs its expert; the shareholders of Telemedia employ their expert; and it goes to arbitration and the arbiters then decide what is a fair price, and then both parties had agreed that whatever that decision was, they would respect it.”

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