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May 13, 2016

PUP Leader Speaks on Half a Billion Arbitration Award

A final award on the acquisition of BTL shares by the Government of Belize is yet to be issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal based in the Netherlands.  While that figure is yet to be calculated, it is expected that GOB will have to fork over a hefty sum to Dunkeld International and other former shareholders. Preliminary figures are in the range of five dollars and sixty cents per share. It means government will be paying out about two hundred million dollars for the value of the property acquired. There is also interest on the amount to be factored in, which goes back to 2009 and could possibly go up as high as half a billion dollars.  That’s a lot of money, currency which taxpayers will ultimately have to shell out.  The nationalization of B.T.L. and it’s compensation package is an intricate affair, one which Opposition Leader John Briceño say he had anticipated.


John Briceño, Leader, People’s United Party

John Briceno

“That’s quite a complicated matter, but I am not surprised as to what has happened.  We know that the prime minister was held over the barrel and he had no choice but to accommodate the owners or the former owners of BTL.  It is something that we’ve been saying from the beginning, if you nationalize a company you need to pay.  You cannot behave like a thug.  You cannot behave like you will not follow the laws of this country.  And that is precisely what happened to the government.  They have gone to the Caribbean Court of Justice on two occasions.  On the first occasion they lost the case and they had to start all over by nationalizing it.  This time they were going to lose again, but because they did not have the majority or the super majority required under the constitution, they figured well they had to negotiate with the owners.  Well the former owners, and rightfully so, put Mr. Barrow over the barrel.  Unfortunately, we the taxpayers are going to be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to the former owners of BTL and we have a problem with that.  I know that the government is trying to spin it, to say well it’s a victory for us, so when you start to look at everything that we have to pay: the law fees or the lawyer fees, the interest that they have, I mean the government mismanaged this case from day one and because of their incompetence, because of their hubris and because of their vindictiveness and spitefulness the Belizean people are now saddled to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.  And that is something that the government, Mr. Barrow and his government cannot run away from.”




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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