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Nov 1, 2017

P.M. Proclaims B.T.L. Still Worth It

Notwithstanding the exorbitant cost that the people of Belize have ultimately paid for B.T.L., PM Barrow maintains that it was all worth the money.  That’s a hefty price tag of more than half a billion dollars.  He says that under the previous accommodation agreement the then-privately owned company, in the hands of Lord Michael Ashcroft, stood to gain over a billion dollars in profits.  He compares that figure to what current B.T.L. C.E.O. Rochus Schreiber is receiving at the helm of the government-owned company.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“What we have paid, which is what the tribunal found we were supposed to have paid, we are supposed to pay, much less than what the alliance was hoping for, is in any case, I insist, absolutely worth it in terms of our long-term eternal ownership of B.T.L., a B.T.L. that will take telecoms in this country to higher heights and that will make beaucoup bucks for government and people.  Remember that with the accommodation agreement, if it had been kept in place, the Ashcroft projection was for B.T.L. to make one point three billion dollars in profits over the life of that accommodation agreement and that’s profits that would have been repatriated.  I hear people quarrelling about the salary of the C.E.O.  When I checked the C.E.O.’s salary, he only has one fixed, a portion of it that’s a fixed component, the rest is performance dependent and even if he performs splendidly and he gets everything that he is able to claim, if he does do well, he pays twenty-five percent tax on that.  Under Ashcroft, the management contract was for five million dollars annually that went immediately out of the country on which no tax was paid.  That was in addition to whatever the C.E.O. in country was getting, so you can holler till the cows come home, nobody will convince me that ultimately this is not a good thing for the Belizean people.”

 

We’ll have more on the B.T.L. decision in Thursday’s newscast.

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