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Jul 27, 2011

B.S.I. workers, 81 % shareholders, debate bank buyout

Horris Patten

The Belize Workers Union met with Prime Minister Dean Barrow at his Coney Drive office this afternoon to discuss the issue of shares it holds in the debt-burdened Belize Sugar Industries (B.S.I.).  The employees trust currently owns eighty-one percent of the company, despite not having received dividends for investments in over ten years.  With the prospect of Banco Atlántida assuming control over B.S.I., concerns have been raised regarding the status of employees’ shares.  During the discussion, all parties, including P.M. Barrow and B.S.I.’s Managing Director Joey Montalvo, agreed that shareholders must be considered during negotiations with the Honduran bank.  According to union president, Horris Patten, today’s meeting was fruitful and that they are anticipating a favorable end to the ongoing crisis by September thirtieth, the deadline set by ING for the B.S.I. to settle its outstanding arrears of millions of dollars.

Horris Patten, President, Belize Workers Union

“It was a very positive meeting.  The whole surrounding discussion was based on the fact of the selling out of, well I wouldn’t call it or want to use the term selling out but the introduction of new monies into B.S.I.  The workers role, the workers will play, after all this has been accomplished, what the workers were deserving of before and what they are now.  So we haven’t signed, sealed or delivered anything as yet so it would be difficult for me to say this is it but I am saying to you it is extremely positive and we are looking forward in the next week or so to be more sure of the position we are in.”

Isani Cayetano

“One of the areas of concern as you had mentioned yesterday, going into the meeting this afternoon, was that of dividends [and] the fact that they haven’t been paid out to shareholders since 1999.  How receptive was the prime minister in terms of you guys tabling this issue to him?”

Horris Patten

“Well the prime minister understood what we were saying.  I think he clearly understands our position when we brought it up to him and he, because of his role as the prime minister and because of his role in being involved in all these discussions, understands and would help to push our thoughts and ideas forward, you know.  That, I think, is his role right now.  He will be along with Mr. Montalvo when they discuss these things with the [Banco] Atlantida and they would push our [agenda] because both Mr. Montalvo is aware of what we are saying and now the prime minister is aware of what we are saying.  So we feel content that what they would be saying to [Banco] Atlantida would be pushing our agenda closer to the end.  So we are positive, it’s a very positive situation. I believe that by the thirtieth of September between the Belize Sugar Industries and all concerned their must be a final understanding that they’d be able to set themselves free of ING.”

Among its many creditors, B.S.I. is indebted to the ING Group to the tune of twenty-nine million U.S. dollars.  If B.S.I. defaults on payment by the given deadline its assets could be seized in a foreclosure.

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6 Responses for “B.S.I. workers, 81 % shareholders, debate bank buyout”

  1. beemtheman says:

    Nationalized ,to make sure people wont get screwed…
    why dontn you try to buy sugar from them ,all the contracts presold for the next 3 years ,some one making money there…and taking it out,quietly.

  2. Lucas says:

    I do not understand. If the workers own 81% of the business, how come or who has given the P.M. the authority to sell the company?. It is like I wanting to sell the P.M.’s house. I am sure he would think I’ve gone bananas. I understand that govt. has pump some money the last time but, govt. does not own the company or does it?. I know there was a debate in the house but under what authority?. What is more, WHERE IS THE SPIRIT OF NATIONALIZATION?. Should not what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander?. OR IS THIS THING ABOUT NATIONALIZATION JUST A MOUNTAIN OF CACA DE CABALLO?. If the shareholders want to sell, it is theirs; they can do whatever they want. What is more, I wonder if the Honduran bank has taken into account the proposed 9th amendment?

  3. defend BZ says:

    Have the PM consiser every cent earned from sugar goes directly to GOB to prop up Belize`s foreign exchange? Private ownership will certainally not let this happend. So Belize will certainly have that much lest foreign exchange to work with. This may even cause a foreign exchange shortage in Belize. By the way , if Belize is only exporting 15% of what it is importing, who or what is bridging the gap?

  4. blvnjah says:

    I GUESS IN THE PM’S MIND THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST IS ONLY BEST SERVED BY NATIONALIZING ‘UTILITIES”.

    MY MAIN COMMENT AND QUESTION IS WHY HAVENT THEY RECEIVED ANY RETURNS ON THEIR INVESTMENTS IN OVER TEN YEARS. THAT JUST SEEMS CRAZY TO ME. SOMEBODY AT THAT FACTORY(AND IN GOV’T) IS MAKING MONEY, JUST NOT THE FOLKS WHO NEED AND DESERVE IT THE MOST.

  5. ivan says:

    agree BANCO ATLANTIDA MUST BE CAREFULL ABOUT DEALING WITH DEAN BARROW,HE CHANGES THE LAWS/constitution for his own benefit,not for the Belizean people as he claims,he is just using us the people for his dictatorial laws…..the BSI workers who own the company are being used by dean barrow he no care for the canefarmers.he said it on national radio when the canefarmers rioted against the GOB/core sampler,dean barrow said “IF I HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN ! I WILL DO IT AGAIN!!! THAT IS NOT MY INDUSTRY! I REPEAT THAT IS NOT MY INDUSTRY”…. STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH, he was refering to the cane farmer that was murdered by security forces ordered by dean barrow,he never came to meet with the canefarmers,or call a meeting,now he wants to come and sell the sugar industry,SHUKSSSSSSSSSSSSS HE REALLY NO GOT SHAMEEEEEEEEEE.,the cane farmers will never forget what kind of PM he is,….WOLF IN SHEEPS’ CLOTHING’.

  6. I Have Awaken says:

    How comes no one talks about the fact that Leisha Barrow, daugher of Denys Barrow, sits on the Board Of Atlantic Bank’s holding company, Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones, S.A. (SONISA), a Honduran company that owns 52% of Atlantic Bank’s/Banco Atlantida (same bloody thing) total share, with the remaining share holdings held by Belizean (Barrow family) and Honduran shareholders. She is the only Belizean sitting on that Board and the Barrows have shares in this company. It is also interesting to note that several Belizeans sat on this Board, and just after UDP got into power, all were fired/removed and only Leisha Barrow remained, conveniently.

    Banco Atlantida is also in cahoots with the Mennonites from Blue Creek that have been after the sugar cane industry from day one, but was told to get to hell by two past PMs, since George Price. This is yet another get rich quick scheme for the Barrows, a very, very sneaky one at that, Dean and the Barrows are as slick as snot on a door knob, if Banco Atlantida completes this sale, Belizeans in the North will be eliminated in no time, Banco Atlantida will simply take over the debt, they will finance the mennonites with cheap money to buy the best of high tech machinery, and they will trample the poor struggling Belizean farmers, who have outdated equipment.

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