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Jul 2, 2020

$250M Still Outstanding to Michael Ashcroft

Dean Barrow

The government owes Lord Michael Ashcroft and his various companies as much as two hundred and fifty million dollars, including the mounting debt from Universal Health Services, as well as pending damages from the recent B.I.S.L. judgment.  In 2016, government settled the then outstanding B.T.L. compensation for over five hundred million dollars.  Altogether, the Barrow administration stands to pay three quarter of a billion dollars for the acquisition of three Ashcroft-owned companies and the financial cost of waging legal battle is being borne by the Belizean people.  But was it worth it? The PM thinks so.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“In terms of the moral imperative that I thought drove us to resist what were clearly nefarious deals not in the best interest of this country.  Start off with B.T.L., we all know the history of that, we know the history of the Accommodation Agreement, we know that particular saga, we know how when B.T.L. was first privatized Mr. Esquivel, the Right Honourable Sir Manuel Esquivel put in place all sorts of safeguards that were just completely violated so that the People’s United Party administration could turn over the national telephone company to the Ashcroft concern.  Fighting to get it back was something that was absolutely necessary, I would have felt that I was not being true to the oath I swore if I did not pursue that. You want to talk again now about the registry, well we must wait and see first of all what the damages assessment will be.  But again, we’re getting something for this you know.  We’re getting a registry that he basically and his people were controlling that, in my view, ought properly, as well as B.T.L. to belong to the people of this country, we’re making money off the registry so over the long haul, these things will more than, it’s like you build a house, you borrow money and there are mortgage payments and initially when you’re servicing your loan it is a fact and it is something you have to deal with, but at the end of the day you own it.  That investment by way of the borrowing that you did will more than pay for itself, and so that is the case not just with B.T.L., but with the ships registry.”


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