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Jun 20, 2011

Foreign investor confidence in Belize will be on shaky grounds

Two years ago on August twenty-fourth, the government called a special sitting of the House of Representatives followed by a senate meeting. By the end of that day, Telemedia became the first company to be nationalized by a hostile takeover. Up until today, compensation has not been paid and B.E.L. will now stand in the line behind Telemedia. The primary concern of consumers then and now remains over rates.  But while the Prime Minister spoke extemporaneously to local television, radio and newspapers, any multinational conglomerate or international lending agency would take a long and hard look at the nationalizations of both Telemedia and BEL. News Five asked the P.M. what would be the repercussions for foreign investment.

Jose Sanchez

“The talking point I’m assuming from here forth will be that the government nationalized Telemedia and now it nationalized another company. It’s bad for foreign investment. Are you concerned about what may be said internationally?”

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“Yes, you have to be; one has to be. But I am absolutely certain. Jose I will remain convinced of this until my dying day that this one had to be done. There was no question. You can argue about Telemedia. You can say even though government said it was acting on the basis of national sovereignty and national dignity, and the refusal to countenance an illegal agreement. Government could have, if it decided to go that way, could have refrained from the nationalization; could have eaten crow; could have said uncle with respect to Lord Ashcroft. In this case, there is no choice; there is no option because if we don’t do this, you’re going to be plunged into blackouts as the letter from twenty-fourth May from Rene Blanco. In fact, the email following up that letter made it absolutely clear. We were right on the brink. CFE was going to cut us off that Friday; the blackouts were going to start. Government had to intervene financially. Government cannot continue to so intervene financially—we just don’t have the money without borrowing it. And we can’t go borrow money to give over to a company that we have no control over; [and] that is in the fix it is in for reasons that we can’t phantom. So this one had to be done.”

Jose Sanchez

“Is the government intending to keep this or semiprivate or to sell again? What is the intention?”

Dean Barrow

“We would certainly want to talk to S.S.B. about S.S.B.’s making a further investment in B.E.L. We would have no difficulty at all with selling shares other than to S.S.B. to the Belizean private sector. Clearly you’re not going to succeed in doing that right at the start because everybody knows the state the company is in, but for down the road; absolutely. What we don’t want is for it to go back into the hands of foreigners. We’ve see where that road has led us. We do not need to retrace our steps in that regard at all.”

Jose Sanchez

“So there will be renegotiations or discussions with CFE of Mexico about the way forward or even rates?”

Dean Barrow

“Well right. I go to Guatemala tomorrow simply because there is a regional security summit and President Calderon of Mexico is going to be there. I have already confirmed a bilateral meeting between the two of us and of course the reason for my requesting that bilateral meeting is to talk about CFE and what Mexico and the president can do now to assist us given the public takeover of B.E.L.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “Foreign investor confidence in Belize will be on shaky grounds”

  1. wisdom says:

    We have seen where foreign investment led BEL. Why should we be so preocupied about what foreign investors think? Oh wait sorry, I know the answer. Poor third world contries need to attract large outside corporations so as to continue the legacy of colonialism – suck the contries dry of whatever natural and human resources that can be found and get extremely wealthy at the expense of poor illiterate natives. And dont dare you fall out of line.

  2. rod says:

    why should anyone in their right mind invest in this rat infested country of corruption and murder we have now become the murder capital of the world and this is just a piece of what this useless pm and gov. is putting the poor people of this country through once a proud and ambitious country and people have been dragged through the slime of this barrow administration and gov. and lowered us to nothing. this same pm who said he is not oliver twist he will not beg anyone for anything is now on his knees begging the mexican president to see if he can take care of belizes depth for electricity now he is even embarrasing the people of this great nation belizeans no let me down stand up and get rid of this cancer that is spreading at a rapid rate this gov. and pm is like a plague of death get rid of them belizeans before it is too late.

  3. Storm says:

    Truthfully, GOB — under both parties — doesn’t care a whit about foreign investment to employ Belizeans. Every other country in the region does a better job finding and responding to foreign businesses that want to invest. We have fallen FAR behind the other countries, and the next generation will suffer permanently because of it.

    Shame on both houses, UDP and PUP.

  4. fromafar says:

    Nicely put Storm, it seems that regardless of whom is in powere, there is an underlying theme that both weak minded politions seem to fall into.

    I maintain, thatin a small country like Belize, corruption is only more evident than in larger organizations. The vultures that go into politics, do so only to line thier pockets.

    I hate to say it, but, I do not trust a single person that holds a govenment office in Belize, regardless of thier intentions and campain promisses, I would love to flush them all again, start fresh and institute a governance model that overseas ALL spending until all the corrupt deals are washed away.

    SHAME on Belizean politions, ever last one of them.

    And mi naw response to any stupid reponse to dis. U dont agreee, then ur corrupt as well or benefiting from someone who is corrupt, so go s.u.m!!!

  5. Earl Grey says:

    rod………..I hate to say……………….. YOU HAVE A RAT INFESTED MIND………..

    As bad as Belize is……… it is better than a lot of other places on the face of this planet.
    IMAGINE IF WE HAD GOOD UPRIGHT LEADERS?????

  6. A Young says:

    Belize is a Rat Hole and Belizean should be happy that foreign investors are willing to invest in Belize.
    Well if they are smart they will keep their money in stable countries.
    HARD TIMES are Coming for Belize !

  7. Earl Grey says:

    A Young…..YOU ARE THE RAT……..that’s why YOU KNOW A RAT HOLE.

    BELIZE IS NO RAT HOLE!!!

  8. Lucas Black says:

    Big question?? Where were the regulators?? How the hell did this train wreck be allowed to materialize?? Belizeans need to face reality. If we do not pay in the form of higher bills, we will have to pay in the form of higher taxes. We are blowing are future. Our debt to GDP ratio keeps going higher and higher. If we continue like this, we will default again and face a hopeless future. Just like Greece!!

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