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Jun 6, 2017

Is Expense Bill for B.T.L. Settlement Too High?

Michael Ashcroft

As much as one hundred and thirty million U.S. dollars is being sought by the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited from the Dean Barrow administration. It is the final figure for legal costs arising of the settlement of the takeover of B.T.L. in 2009 and again in 2011. These costs were to be claimed against the amount assigned to the Accommodation Agreement, about sixty percent of the half-a-billion dollar settlement. The remainder, in Belize dollars, was to be dedicated to funding projects to help the Belizean people. But one of the major worries after last year’s debacle with the first payment, initially given in Belize dollars then later in U.S. dollars – that much or all of the remainder would go toward expenses rather than the wishes of the Government – seems to have come to pass. And Prime Minister Dean Barrow has already signalled that he wants to fight it in the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Leader of the Opposition says that he cannot fight an agreement which he signed and which was poorly drafted and cost government even more millions. John Briceño spoke to reporters earlier today.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“It seems that all of the money from the final seventy-five million dollars is going to be used to pay the expenses of Lord Ashcroft. I can remember when the Prime Minister was saying that during the negotiations, it was fast and furious; but now we’re finding out that it was false and furious and foolish and stupid, because any attorney that is worth his or her salt will tell you that in these negotiations you cap your expenses. The Prime Minister, in his haste for a third term, signed a blank cheque to Lord Ashcroft, and then decided that once the arbitrators would come up with the final figure that they were going to pay fifty percent within ten days of that final ruling and then one year later, they were going to pay the final figure. Today now we are finding out the true facts: that it has been heads, Belize lose; tails, Belize lose; and it is all because of the hubris of the Prime Minister and the United Democratic Party government.  Today we are finding out that almost all of the money is going to be used to pay the expenses of Lord Michael Ashcroft and that is something that the Prime Minister signed to and agreed to in the Miami secret agreement, the sell out that the Prime Minister did in September of 2015.”

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