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Jul 7, 2011

Former Prime Minister defends accommodation agreement

Said Musa

The discussion on the nationalization of B.E.L. and B.T.L. will not subside anytime soon. But the man, who approved the accommodation agreement that allegedly sparked the current prime minister into seizing Telemedia two times, has added his opinion to the national debate. Former Prime Minister Said Musa, at Wednesday’s P.U.P. press conference, defended the infamous accommodation agreement, saying that special arrangements are not new to Belize or to most countries. He says they provide incentives for investors, local and international, who will invest their capital to promote expansion, an economic base, and to create jobs. Musa went on to say that both U.D.P. and P.U.P. administrations have given concessions and at the time of its nationalization, Telemedia’s profit margin exceeded the guaranteed rate of return that was outlined in the accommodation agreement, thereby rendering the nationalization pointless.

Said Musa, Fort George Area Representative

“Indeed both P.U.P. and U.D.P. have given these concessions over the years.  The fifteen percent rate of return in the accommodation agreement was, at the time, considered reasonable. Why? Because of the turmoil that existed in the industry at the time. We have to recall history you know: there was complete chaos happening in telecommunication industry at that time—instigated by the very same U.D.P. and their fellow travelers; some of them call themselves Association of Concerned Belizeans.  They were so concerned; they were stirring up chaos and problems in our country—clearly working in the interest and for the U.D.P. The next point I would make on this accommodation agreement is that in turn B.T.L. management undertook to spend additional millions of dollars to expand industry and to improve the services. And they did. This was confirmed by the very government appointed chairman of B.T.L., Mr. Vasquez, after the government took control of B.T.L. in 2009. It was also confirmed by the Court of Appeal, by judges, who could not understand why the government was stating as their public purpose that they wanted to stabilize the industry and that is why they acquired it. As the court found on the evidence, the industry was already stabilized and moving ahead in 2009. So the government’s excuse, as found by the court, was phony. Again the fifteen percent rate of return in the agreement was no longer an issue. The company was making in excess of fifteen percent rate of return at the time of the compulsory acquisition by the government. Indeed the B.T.L. general manger publically stated before the acquisition that B.T.L. was no longer relying on the accommodation agreement. In other words my friends, the excuse used by Barrow and U.D.P. government for acquiring this property by force–to get rid of the accommodation agreement—was a red herring and a phony false. The conclusion then that we are forced to come to is that the Barrow government did not take over B.T.L., then or now this week or whenever, for a public purpose. It was done in the name of the people, but not for the people. It was done for the benefit and control of the very same people who had over the years represented the Ashcroft interest, if I may call it that. Done for the benefit or control of the very same people who want to utilize telecommunications for the benefit of their families and their cronies.”

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8 Responses for “Former Prime Minister defends accommodation agreement”

  1. it's me says:

    Barrow is on the record saying that electricity rates at a government controlled BEL would not be reduced since “foreign” investors should be allowed a “rate of return” on their investment…isn’t this a de facto “accommodation agreement?”

    continue to keep him honest mr. musa!!!

  2. Heny says:

    lol dude why u haffu bring bak dat stuff my gosh the damage has been done u can’t clean it with clorox

  3. confused says:

    If the company was making in excess of 15% profit as outlined in the AA, then why is it that they were refusing to pay taxes? Can someone enlighten me?

  4. Earl Grey says:

    WHO ELSE IN Belize BUSINESS IS GUARANTEED A 15% RETURN?????????

    Politics is such a dirty game.

  5. Watchful eye says:

    The damage is not done yet, Heny. There is a continuity. For u the cleaning cannot be done with clorox but in the name of “nationalization” and this type of “nationalization” is coming from a similar mindset of the so called Association of Concerned Belizeans (for Barrows). So “nationalization” in the name of Belizeans will bring the damage and will be seen in the longer run. The chamber of commerce, using their business savvy is seeing the turmoil ahead planted by this mindset but by that time the effect will batter Belize, they have gotten fat and probably left Belize behind for us the poor to starve. Be careful!

  6. oscar965 says:

    Blue or red…why are we the public kept so much in the dark…there are way too many “secret” deals that both pup and upd have done and continue to do…and we the public put them up there…if it were not for the media houses that are now more demanding, they would get away with so much more…so to this and all other media houses…keep on asking questions….let them know that everyone is accountable at the end of the day….

  7. it's me says:

    @confused . . . the company was paying taxes at the time of “expropriation.” barrow was trying to collect what he termed “back taxes.”

  8. To the grain says:

    Today the media is a scrap. They are too business-like and this makes dependent on the largest employer–government, so to avoid a confrontation with gov’t and the loss of ad money and perks they choose to avoid writing the pros and cons on critical issues affecting the nation unless the public’s outcry is resounding in some talk shows. Certain newspapers in Belize claim they are independent but if you judge their articles they are very partisan. We need not to go far, check the newspapers in neighboring Chetumal, they would present a news item writing explicitly even if it against government. There is a certain newspaper in Belize that when it writes an article that is hardhitting government, this newspaper would end the article by making a comparison of the action with that of the PUP when it was in power. POOR JOURNALISM. It is not that I am defending the PUP, but my point here is that if something is- it is wrong. You can’t make it right by referring to the actions of a past administration.

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