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Jun 29, 2011

New Nationalization law will not end the fight for Telemedia

Dean Barrow

Attorneys for the government are busy re-drafting legislation for the re-acquisition of the telephone company. It’s an astounding and contentious decision taken by Cabinet on Tuesday because only last Friday, the Court of Appeal declared that the 2009 acquisition is unconstitutional, null and void. And if all goes according to the government’s plan, the repossession of Telemedia is planned for as early as Monday at hasty house and senate sittings as it did back in 2009 and as recent as last Monday when government also took control of Belize Electricity Limited.

It’s the third time that government will be using its super majority in the House to take control of private property and there could be a fourth. But the decision to renationalize has been seismic in nature because of the court ruling and gives the appearance that government is acting with disregard for the law and is using the security forces to continue to occupy Telemedia. This afternoon News Five spoke to the Prime Minister about his latest plan to again move in on Telemedia.

Dean Barrow

“The notices are going out this afternoon to parliamentarians.  The House [of Representatives] will meet Monday morning and the Senate Monday afternoon.”

Isani Cayetano

“While there is public opinion that the move on behalf of the government is right the opinion of some legal minds are of [the impression] that you are moving against the court order.  Can you speak to us on that primarily?”

Dean Barrow

“It’s the opposite.  We are, in order to comply; the findings of the court are fixing the law.  In other words the amendments of the law will reflect all the findings of the Court of Appeal.”

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the way forward yes you have mentioned re-nationalizing the company but it would seem as though this will spark off another round of protracted legal battles.  What can we expect?”

Dean Barrow

“Well I can’t tell you what the other side will do.  I can tell you that we are, we were convinced when we first acquired that we were doing so for overwhelming national interests reasons.  We believe that is still the case.  We believe if we were correct and justified first time around we have to see it through and therefore we will be correct and justified this time around.  If there is going to be even more litigation that’s unfortunate but we don’t see that that is too high a price to pay or [to] put it another way it is a price we will have to pay in terms of preserving national dignity, national pride, national sovereignty and the practical welfare of, in particular, the BTL interest, BTL workers.  So what we’re doing we are certain will also in fact confirm security of tenure for the employees of BTL, job security.  So for all those reasons we are inflexible in our determination to proceed on Monday.”

Alfonso Noble

“Prime Minister, on another matter, the B.E.L. issue.  It seems that the people have thrown their hands up in the air.  We are hardly hearing anything from Fortis as it relates to the nationalization of B.E.L.  Are you at all expecting litigation on that front?”

Dean Barrow

“I really don’t know, I can’t say.  It is true that the release that Fortis issued suggests that Fortis is only interested in compensation.  That it is not interested in challenging the acquisition and that would make sense.  We all felt that Fortis wanted to rid itself of that company which was a loss making company and saddled the Belizean taxpayers with the burden of having to service the debts.  I say again though that government had absolutely no choice.  We’re very happy that we did what we did.  On Monday when we go to the House we’re only going to fix the BTL law but if Fortis were ever to indicate that it wishes to challenge the nationalization [then] we go back to the House and fix that law too to the extent that since it was passed before this Court of Appeal judgment if there is anything that the Court of Appeal mentioned was not in the BEL law we would also rectify that situation.”

The question is: Will the new law really end the fight for Telemedia? News Five has not seen the proposed law, but attorneys who have read the judgment have said that short of an amendment to the Constitution it is impossible for Government to definitively get around the decision of the Court of Appeal. As there is unlikely to be an amendment to the Constitution it looks like the fight and uncertainty will continue for quite some time to come.

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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10 Responses for “New Nationalization law will not end the fight for Telemedia”

  1. junito says:

    I wish Barrow would fight so hard and tuff for the nationalization of BNE. stupid man jst fighting due to a bruised EGO.

  2. JDR says:

    Don’t forget they are fighting to put millions of money in the Barrows’ pockets.

  3. observer says:

    Lois is making millions at SSB and also with the legal battles that the government (headed by the bald head man). Anyone sense a conspiracy? How about with his law partner – Williams?

  4. Elgin Martinez says:

    This is all a game by Barrow and affiliates to milk the Belizean people.

  5. noh gone dah skool but gat sense says:

    Dis fool have to stap. it look like when barrow dem loose eena 2013 dem noh weh want come out a govament neither. like dem woulda hurry put enn a law fu seh if dem loose den dem still win.

  6. hard woking Belizean says:

    As ‘junito’ states, Barrow is just fighting due to his bruised EGO!! Why don’t you place your attention to the actual critical issues affecting us the Belizean people?!!! No jobs, higher cost of living, crime is sky high…, those are just petty issues as compared to witch hunting Mr. Aschcroft!!! Guess getting revenge on Mr. Aschcroft is the PM’s priority on his agenda. I feel so sorry for us Belizeans but at the same time would like to remind us all that the PM has no objection to “civil uprise” once it is geared to standing up for our RIGHTS!!! What more are we waiting for to happen?

  7. IT IS A SHOW says:

    Where is the new Belize Bank located , who owns the Matalon Building, 50 million of taxpayers money dissappeared and the public not saying anything.the lawyers and the Bar Association have kidnapped this country and will suck it dry.

  8. Roy Yates says:

    Belizeans tighten your belts. Borrow is giving you all a taste of what is to come. Now you see how easy its for him to get thepolice and the BDF to back him. As someone pointed out on this forum yesterday, which I second, what will stop him from rigging the election and if it blow in his face like this BTL fiasco, he can get his cronies to back him to cancell the constitution and bring in Military rule. Far fetch you say? If you understand the gravity of what is going on right now, there should be no doubt that its possible. The police tells the court, screw you, the BDF likewise and the Attorney General is mute; and to top it all off, a former attorney General say that what Borrow & Co are doing is criminal.

  9. belizeanpride says:

    i wouldn’t be surprise to see after next election when the pup come in they’ll sell it back to ashcroft simple as that and b.e.l back to fortis watch this move clearly and barrow is using this move to bring money into louis young and his firm, money before his kick out from the pm seat. watch it carefully people what his doing. no wonder he doesn’t give a damn about what we say, what we shout, but everydog has his day some day he’ll die and nothing of his glory he will take after death in hell.

  10. Belizean Diaspora says:

    For the love of God, Dean Oliver Barrow, just swallow your pride and learn from your mistakes. A court has just declared your stunt of expropriating property from investors unconstitutional, and now you move in contempt of that court’s ruling, my God, You have sworn to uphold the law when you became prime minister, and now you hold nothing but contempt for it. I hope Belizeans learn from this, and remember it well, this UDP, what ever way, shape or form it is, has absolutely no respect for the laws they swore to uphold, nor the very institutions to defend such laws. I sincerely hope that Belizeans have wised up to this nonsense and will use their head, rather than the slogans and hymns of the moment to make their decisions regarding the destiny of our nation.

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