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Jun 25, 2008

Telemedia issues response in wake of court battles

As we reported in Tuesday’s newscast, Telemedia was ordered to pay four point six million dollars in business tax for the months of February and March and the Government is pressing ahead to collect taxes for April and May. But this afternoon in an unprecedented move, Belize Telemedia Limited fired back with a detailed missive of its side of the story on the ongoing legal battles in court and with the Barrow Government. According to the statement issued by Telemedia Chairman, Dean Boyce, following the change of Government in February, an Accommodation Agreement signed with the past administration in 2005 guaranteed that Telemedia could set off its taxes and other liabilities to cancel monies owed to the company by Government. That document quickly came into dispute with the U.D.P. government who declared it invalid. Telemedia asserts that it considers the Accommodation Agreement valid, that it will pursue legitimate rights to the fullest extent and that it is currently engaged in arbitration in London, in which the government is not participating.

The letter, which is addressed to shareholders, also points to the major capital investment programme, valued in excess of one hundred million dollars for the expansion of services countrywide and for the upgrade of operational capabilities. It goes on to say it has more than eight hundred Belizean shareholders and that more than ninety percent of the company is owned by its employees’ trust and charitable trusts, but that there are those who are intent on mudding the waters for purely personal agendas. Boyce ends by extending an olive branch to government inviting constructive dialogue to safeguard the interests of Telemedia employees to repay the unsecured debt obligation of twenty million owed by the employees trust to the Social Security Board and the Government of Belize.

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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