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Aug 31, 2009

Boyce says company was willing to negotiate with G.O.B.

And what about the Accommodation Agreement reached between Telemedia and the government in 2005? Boyce said the company was always willing to negotiate with government on this sensitive issue, but he felt government never really intended to work out things.

Dean Boyce, Former Chairman, Executive Committee, B.T.L.
“We have in the past, on more than one occasion, said to the government that we’ll give up the Accommodation Agreement, we’ll give up the return, Minimum Rates Return, give up the shortfall. What we wanted to do was sit down, go through the detail of the industry so that they properly understood the various detailed dynamics to work a way forward so that the government can achieve what it wants to achieve, which is free internet for schools, allowing prices and full universal service across the whole country, not just Belize City, but all the other areas. And B.T.L. could make the investment secure in the knowledge that somewhere down the line we weren’t going to have major problems with the government and all our investments will be undermined. So, we were quite prepared all the way through to sit down and discuss that and start again. The document that came through just before the nationalization was because we had heard about the nationalization. They had clearly decided that they would not, in any shape or form, honor it going forward. So, we really had no alternative, but to say okay, we will consider that as now been terminated. But just bear in mind that the agreement was in two parts—it provided some assurance to B.T.L., but it also was the base for all the development work that the government wanted—the row of services, the price reductions and so on. So, we gave up the one side, but similarly we’ve also got the other side, which the government would then no longer be able to achieve and all the investments that we had made to date based upon the contract that we had in place, we would still be saying to them, look you’ve got to try and work something out on this because we’ve spent tens of millions of dollars that we wouldn’t otherwise have spent. So, we’ve been prepared all the way along to sort of start again. Our problem was I don’t believe there was ever a real will to discuss anything with us. I think there were other motives.”

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