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Sep 17, 2020

Johnny Openly Questions B.T.L.’s Value

When the scandalous matter was raised in the House of Representatives, B.T.L.’s fiscal performance was the topic of a testy exchange between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition during Wednesday’s sitting.  In the context of the latest scandal, the company’s financial outlook was brought to the forefront of the discussion where John Briceño described the Belize Telemedia Limited as a white elephant.  The national telephone company, a government-owned possession of questionable value, was defended tooth and nail by Prime Minister Barrow who maintains that the company continues to turn a profit annually, despite a significant downturn with profits anticipated to go down to the lowest figures in the last financial year.

 

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“B.T.L. has gone from being the signature accomplishment of the U.D.P. to a bloody expensive white elephant.  You know what I mean by white elephant?  Really they just pay a lot of money for something that you will never get back your money.  No matter what you do, how you add the numbers, how you try to cook the books, you will never get back your money and that, Madame Speaker, the sad part about that is that all of us in here, taxpayers, will end up paying all of that extravagance that has taken place at B.T.L.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Let me go back to the larger issue Mr. Leader of the Opposition.  Not only has B.T.L. not heretofore been troubled by any single allegation of wrongdoing.  B.T.L., apart from making money for its shareholders, has been an outstanding corporate citizen.  You talk about B.T.L. assisting the Belize City Council when it was under a U.D.P. administration, I have no doubt that it is so, but again in a public fashion and what is wrong with that?  You know the number of scholarships B.T.L. gives every year.  B.T.L. helps, exactly, five hundred and odd…  I am going to read out for you some of the facts but the leader elect has in fact already foreshadowed it.  The assistance B.T.L. has given to education throughout this country is unparalleled, never happened until nationalization took place and I repeat, not only has this company made money every year and except, God forbid, you were to win and try to reverse the nationalization, it will continue to do so until kingdom come.”


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