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Sep 30, 2010

Chamber says, “The future of B.T.L. is fraught with uncertainties.”

As we have reported, the Social Security Board is required by government to invest fifty million dollars of pension funds in Telemedia. According to the PM, the prospectus will be released on October fifteenth. The full SSB is yet to meet to decide on whether or not the investment is prudent but the clock is ticking and it looks like the cauldron is boiling over. Earlier today, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has a representative on the SSB, raised a fundamental question about the haste with which it has to make the fifty million dollar decision when it is still not privy to the pertinent information about the share price, the ownership structure or the value of the assets. According to the BCCI, “the future of BTL is fraught with uncertainties which increased the risk to the fund.” The BCCI is asking for a copy of the prospectus, a technical audit of the status of the network, three separate legal opinions on any claim that may impede the profitability of Telemedia. BCCI’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Vanessa Peyrefitte, told News Five more about the chamber’s position.

Vanessa Peyrefitte, Marketing/Public Relations Manager, BCCI

vanessa peyrefitte

“The Chamber’s position on the sale of the B.T.L. Shares is pretty simple. It is us asking the government if they can provide us with some basic information that would assist in determining if this is a good decision to make, which is invest public funds into the sale or into the purchasing of shares at B.T.L. At the end of the day this is public funds and you know what has happened in the past with public funds, various instances. So in order to be responsible, there’s this thing called corporate responsibility and I think that’s exactly what the Chamber is doing right now, asking for an audit of the assets, the investment prospectus and other things like that so at the end of the day we can look it and we can say okay yes, we think that this is a good decision to make or there may be some sticking points that need to be addressed. At the end of the day we prefer that this decision to purchase shares in B.T.L. not be a very hasty, quick decision and then at the end of the day maybe in the future there may be things that happen that negatively impact that industry and then it’s not just a private investor’s money that’s affected in that. It’s going to be my money and your money because our tax payers’ dollars go into S.S.B.”

We do note that under existing legislation, there is no restriction on the number of telecoms licenses that can be issued.  So if one large foreign operator took a share of the market, Telemedia’s revenue would reduce and the SSB’s investment would be exposed.  There is also word that government is now considering to go back to the nineteen percent telecommunication tax that, by its own volition, it increased to twenty-four point five percent when Telemedia was privately owned.

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5 Responses for “Chamber says, “The future of B.T.L. is fraught with uncertainties.””

  1. Earl Grey says:

    They BIT OFF MORE THAN THEY CAN CHEW……………….. WATCH THEM CHOKE!!!!!

  2. Alexis Arzu says:

    politics as usual.

  3. rootsman says:

    Sounds like what we have here is a dictatorship government, now tell me why in the world would the Barrow administration be forcing the hands of the social security board to invest fifty million dollars of their funds to purchase BTL, it seems like Barrow have made a big mistake and is now looking for a scapegoat to take the blame, if he saw BTL as such a viable business that he went to great lengths to nationalize it then maybe he should hold on to it long enough so that some of the profits can go back to the tax payers and if it is indeed a viable business then there should be no rushing to get a sale and when he do decide to sell any interested party should have enough time to perform their due diligence. I don’t know about you all but I smell a rat this BTL nationalization might not have been such a great idea and could turn out to be a Trojan horse and the worst thing that have happened so far that an administration has done to the Belizean public just because our prime minister has a big ego and will go to any lengths to try and prove to his adversaries that he can do as he pleases even at the expense of the country, tighten your seat belts Belizeans I think that you are about to take a very rough ride on this BTL fiasco, with that said I think that the BTL employee trust would be the perfect match to have the majority control on the company since they are the people that is doing the work and should know how to run the company so why not sell to them, oh maybe they don’t have that kind of money available to pay the cash that is needed to pay for the company well employee board let us hear from you put your money where your mouth is, this should not be a secret negotiation after all the people of Belize stands to be the biggest losers here let’s hear what you are offering for BTL maybe we can get a bidding war here that will benefit the country, and by the way Mr. Barrow you got to allow due diligence unless of course you want to enter the bidding war yourself I am sure if you get all your family together you will be able to afford it after all who the hell in the Belize government cares about conflict of interest and nepotism and the like.

  4. RR says:

    This is Barrow Business as usual!! The UDP way… Belize always suffers under the UDP…

  5. Earl Grey says:

    WILL BELIZE BE BETTER …… after Barrow leaves office???????????

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