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Jun 24, 2011

Court of Appeal reverses nationalization of Telemedia

Eamon Courtenay

The Court of Appeal today delivered a massive blow to the government in the 2009 acquisition of Belize Telemedia. The ruling reverses an order made by the government to compulsorily acquire the telephone company from the Ashcroft Group. It was handed down at four this afternoon. The drama mounted because there was first a notice for ruling for ten a.m. that was moved by the Court Registrar to two o’clock and then to late afternoon. Telemedia was nationalized back in August 2009 with government acquiring ninety-four percent shares in the company. It was challenged in the courts by Dean Boyce as Chairman of the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees. In July 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that government’s acquisition of the company was constitutional. Boyce appealed that ruling and today the Court of Appeal gave its decision.  The courtroom was packed to capacity as the ruling was delivered by Justice Brian Alleyne. Essentially it nullifies the acquisition and hands back Telemedia to the previous owners removing it from government control. That decision was contained in a one hundred and fifty page document, in which the justices found that the government did not have sufficient reasons to compulsorily acquire the company for public purpose.  Attorneys Godfrey Smith and Eamon Courtenay spoke to News Five about today’s ruling.

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney

“The most fundamental decision is that the amendment to the Belize Telecommunications Act, by which the government took control of Belize Telemedia Limited has been struck down by the Court of Appeal. It seems to me to be a triumph for the rule of law for the independence of the judiciary. What this signals to one and all is that you may hate Michael Ashcroft, you may hate anybody but you’re still subject to the constitution of this country. You cannot take private property to satisfy some personal grudge that you have with an individual. That has no place in a democracy and the decision of the Court of Appeal gave life to that principle.”

Godfrey Smith, Attorney

Godfrey Smith

“Well, as you might have heard the judge say, the acquisition act and order have been declared unconstitutional, null and void. Null and void means it was never of any effect from the beginning and therefore cannot stand. The obvious effect of that is that the shareholders whose shares were acquired are effectively restored as the legitimate shareholders of BTL.”

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29 Responses for “Court of Appeal reverses nationalization of Telemedia”

  1. maggie says:

    I bet you the court couldn’t do that while dennis was there. [dennis, you did the right thing] so the outcome on the BEL appropriation is foretold.

  2. ZEUS says:

    The Dean Barrow government alleges to have suffered a great loss with the denationalization of Telemedia, or did they? How can you suffer for that which was never yours. The Barrow government stole Telemedia from its rightful owners. They also stole BEL from its rightful owners. It appears that Barrow, Vasquez & gang are hell bent on getting rich by any means necessary……….. including theft.

    In the neighboring Central American republics, Barrow and his entire government would have suffered a coup if they attempted such shennigans, and perhaps ended sleeping on the ocean floor. Aaah, Belize my home, my haven, its painful to see the choices we have made for leadership.

  3. Belizean Diaspora says:

    This automatically sets a precedent mister Prime Minister, you’d be advised to reverse taking back BEL as well.

  4. karla says:

    Is it probably me and my imagination or we the belizean people were taken for a ride as usual.. This grudge of arrogance that barrow has displayed cost us the taxpayers money and here is the DETAIL.. Who was paid millions of dollars to defend the unconstitutional takeover… Louis Young and barrow ??? again, everything is back to normal, it cost us the taxpayers millions in legal defence and court time to satisfy a grudge that at the same time makes barrow ex wife rich and it is ALWAYS sold to us that nationalization is for us the people. Now we the people own telemedia and we Really beieve its for us.. lets wake up, it was never meant to be for us but for govermeent friends and cronies and on top they take our belizean social security moneey to do all these business and when it goes wrong we pay. When you hear nationalization for belizeans.. lets be careful and more smart..

  5. EMS says:

    Very sadly so, the only losers are the Belizean taxpayers, The PM, his Ex-wife, family, cronies and political lackeys have all made money. We are experiencing a grave leadership crisis in Belize. What else is new Belize?

  6. Gil says:

    I agree with the court, the court made the right decion by reversing the nationalization of Btl. I am not in support of the government.

  7. Dawn Sandoval says:

    Amen, justice was served! What arrogance from this régime changing laws & the constitution at will, all for misguided person reasons, giving the appearance of a banana republic where the laws and constitution is written in pencil? Is this enough for the people to call for a no confidence in our government, it appears the international community would agree? Viva Belize; stop the abuses of our rights, stop declaring war on the private sector, we need them for real progress, less government meddling for more development without tax dollars, time to undo all the damage that has been done, and stop using the nationalistic rhetoric of “foreigners” we live off of tourists dollars, investors, trading partners, and the granting of VISA’S to better our lives.

  8. WTF says:

    Thankfully the court still has a head on its shoulders…Barrow stole telemedia and BEL. plain and simple. Just look at the pole outside your house and ask yourself this…. why would a company who is severely cash strapped and on the verge of bankruptcy go out, and at a significant cost, replace every single utility meter in the country with brand new ones? There is more going on behind the scenes than we are led to believe.

  9. Mr. Concerned says:

    tax payers are mules once again. Imagine the possibilities tax payers!!!!!!!

  10. wisdom says:

    I wonder why we bother celebrate the 21st September. It truly is only a symbolic holiday and nothing else.

  11. Roy Yates says:

    I see blood shed on the streets of Belize before this man is out of office, not by the gangs that are already doing it, but by a greater number of citizens as this egotist continue to take the country down a slippry path. I saw his press Release that the people are behind his action, but judging from the responses here he seem to be the only one who believes his BS. Classic case of the pride that goes before a fall. Yes, good man gone wrong, absolute power absolutely corrupt.

    Fellow Belizeans, this man will bring on additional suffering on the country, these folks that he is trying to buck has the capacity to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on the country because of this clown.We’ve all heard the phrase, that there are many ways to skin the cat. Barrow’s ego and self interest will bring untold hardship on the country because he has a chip on his shoulder. He talks about independent Sovereign country, surely if it was up to him there is no way the country would have gotten its Indepedence as he knows nothing about diplumacy. Belizeans, get behind a new Party to bring about some real checks and balance in the system. From a distance I see the leader of the opposition as light weight that hardly has what it takes to get out of good shower of rain.

    Here come Mr.Borrow with his slight of hands: the court ruled against him but it did not say to hand over the company immediately, so he has gone to the Caribbean Court of Appeal for assistance to steal. So what will happen in the mean time when the Court in belize issue a piece of paper to the Police that say that the original owner must take possession now? Will the court wait until the other court rule on the matter, if they affirm? See who is getting wealthy from this whole saga.

  12. BDF soldier says:

    Belize is suffering and is been killed by a cancer,a cancer thats is eating up the rights and freedoms of belizeans to prosper,to have a real free life,the right to have dignity,and that cancer are the LAWYERS aka politicians in both mafias.

  13. Jeebo says:

    Bottom line – This is not a country for investors. Belizeans don’t have the will nor the money to invest. When foreigners who have the money invest here, it gets taken away from them by either government or their employees > when employees or government manage it, they run it to the ground. Please note I say GOVERNMENT, not Barrow or Musa.
    P.S. Atlantic and Belize Bank have also participated in forcibly acquiring foreign investors money. Moral of the story – If you have money, Belize is NOT the place to invest.

  14. Concerned says:

    Barrow has always said that he will take back BTL and BEL. Monday will be fireworks. Police being asked to protect the rightful owners from entering their property. Where in the world does this happen? Venezuela, Cuba, you name it. What have we now become, when a prime minister named Barrow does not care about the law nor what people say. He hides behind a cloud of darkness and pounces on the poor people by justifying his actions by saying that he is doing it for Belizeans. Tomorrow morning krem will rant and rave about the ills of the Lord. This is not the ills of the Lord. This is about one egotistical maniac dreaming in his seaside mansion how to frustrate and malign good people names. Yes the PUP raped us blind and no one in their right cotton picking mind will vote that crowd back but what we are seeing wit this BTL thing is that governments’s do not care about what is good. Governments care about what makes them look good. B arrow is no less than an ordinary criminal. He steals and then justifies his actions by saying he is doing it for the Belizean people. The Belizean people are not the ones winning only the lawyers. What BS. Mr. barrow you are a lawyer and you claim smartness over al others. You must have figured out that you could not win this BTL matter. You only won in the supreme court because judges live in fear of being fired. You impose fear on the weak.

  15. Lucas Black says:

    It’s a victory for the rule of law, at least for now. As usual, the taxpayers get screwed again. Oh, that’s us. We get to pick up the tab for this charade!

  16. Proud Belizean says:

    Barrow promised Voip, did he deliver on that promise? Hell no!

    This man is desperately holding on to nothing more that a big ego, because we all know that everything else is small. Zenaida said he doesn’t even have any….I think they are just small.

    So he has to make up with this big ego which is stroked constantly by Lois. He says one thing when he is alone and changes his mind once Lois begins to stroke.

    Well she has self interest doesn’t she. I bet that they both share the profits from their little ego trip.

    Ini the meantime, well the fight continues. I urge the employees to step out of the company. Pull some plugs or as Michael Peyrefitte said….RAM IT.

    That will smoke the weasles out.

  17. Mickey Mouse Freedom says:

    In the words of Lucky Dube.

  18. Mickey Mouse Freedom says:

    Is Belize an independent country?

  19. Independent? says:

    Is Belize really an independent Country?

  20. Concerned says:

    At 8:00 am the rightful owners must and should be given access to their property. Nothing more, Nothing less else we have evolved into a Barrow style Mugabe dictatorship where we will live in fear of that bxxxs-less man taking over our rights and our freedom. If Barrow was so sure of himself why is he having those poor policeman sitting down in the gates. The law says that if something is yours you must be able to enjoy the use of it and now the rightful owners of BTL muts be able to enjoy what is theirs.

  21. belizeanpride says:

    this is and will be the worst gov. term with a udp gov. seating ever in history. imagine the possiblities with them another five yrs? but this will never happen again.

  22. Justice says:

    Barrow is on an ego trip and this was just a personal vendetta., At least the appeals court reversed his decision. Now let us see who he will victimise for this decision! Hopefully this is the start of the downfall of his empire!

  23. hard woking Belizean says:

    “The truth shall set us free”…..and so it is. Exactly as all the concerned Belizeans say, who benefited of all these lawsuits? The ex-wife!!! Not us Belizeans, oh no, on the contrary, we have been jammed down our throats with a lifetime of debt which will trickle down to our children & great grandchildren for years and years to come. Dejavu again with BEL….we better tighten our belts because our future generation has no hope. Some may not even exist yet they have been marked to pay for senseless monies wasted by this damn no good PM we currently have. Come on people, how much more will we endure….its time to stand up together and say NO MORE BARROW & CORRUPT ADMINISTRATION…NO MORE, NO MORE, NO MORE!!!!

  24. Belizean says:

    Barrow should remember what happened in Honduras when president Zelaya refused to obey a court order Belize is going a dangerous road lately. Rightfully Barrow should have done the honourable thing as the Prime Minister of this country.If the leaders are breaking the law what example are they showing to the citizens of Belize.

  25. LTC says:

    This was long overdue, 2 years at BTL AND we didn’t get VOIP either as the UDP had promised. Please guys don’t compare BTL to BEL. For starters, the Ashcroft Adm was not running BTL into the ground with debts, then turning to GOB with ultimatums: Bail us out or face low shedding.

    When was the last time we had a raise in telephone or internet rates? BEL was always getting rate raise with the Musa Adm. They make electricity so unobtainable to the poor, that desperate city residents are either burning candles, or getting some illegal “drop” from neighbors.

  26. phoenix says:

    Well, Dean Barrow said it himself whilst at the house right after his party gained power. He said it was their turn and he also said they only needed one term. Somehow, at that point in time it sounded like foreshadowing or porbably not even that. It was a flat out directive on his intentions.

    So much crime is occuring in our country and whenever a killing occurs and Dean Barrow is interviewed and as to comment on the matter, all he has to say everytime is ” I’m disgusted” or “I’m appalled” and then skips off on his merry way. He doesn’t even have it in him to try and reassure his Belizean people on live television that he will even TRY to meet this crime situtation head on. All he does is say how shocked he is then blames others.

    Its not about the politics, its about the individuals and what they stand for. It is clear what our leaders really care about and what they beleive in………THEMSELVES AND MONEY!!!

    I say its high time for an early election. Get rid of these people now before they rape our country anymore!!

  27. LMFAO says:

    for 2 years they had BTL, and did they allow VOIP, did they lower rates and increased internet speeds, NO,NO. and NO. all pensioners should demand that the 50million of SSB funds be replaced immediately..

  28. Madaz says:

    Wow! I did not see it coming.

  29. Charlie Price says:


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