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Jun 29, 2016

Barrow Says Takeover of B.T.L. Was Worth Every Penny

Dean Barrow

It’s not quite as simple as that. The settlement agreement, agreed to in 2015 between Prime Minister Barrow and Lord Michael Ashcroft, does indeed stipulate that the Accommodation Agreement portion of the award, sixty percent, is to be paid in Belize dollars. But our understanding is that the money will still be under the control of Dunkeld and Sunshine Holdings to whom the award must be paid, and those principals will have to approve requests made by grant. Still the P.M. sees that as sweet victory, icing on a cake which already looked pretty good.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Our takeover of B.T.L. is not overpriced and is worth every ounce of resistance we maintained and every penny of the Award. And one reason is because what we are paying now for the AA, one-off and in effect to ourselves, is far less than the long-run payment that the P.U.P. started, and which Belize would have been forced to continue. We pay now once for all, and on our feet. They would have had us pay almost indefinitely, and on our knees.  So let us look at it in strict dollars and sense terms, and see why we still come out ahead.  As of the time of acquisition, the AA meant that G.O.B. was losing one hundred and eighty-two million in business tax and twenty million in customs duties. By blocking VOIP, B.T.L. was also profiting to the tune of forty-five million dollars.  Nationalization, then, has stopped all that tax bleeding and the actual inversion of G.O.B. having to pay B.T.L. instead of the other way round. But more positively, it has already resulted in income and earnings to G.O.B., which in the round more than justify the acquisition. Government and People have to date collected one hundred eighty-three million by way of dividends, sale of shares and taxes. And on the present ownership composition of B.T.L. and its profit trajectory, G.O.B. dividends over the next ten years will be well over one hundred million dollars. Put another way, the dividends earnings alone would enable us to service whatever loan monies, on cheap terms given prevailing market conditions, we borrow to pay compensation.”

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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