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#349371 - 08/26/09 11:05 AM New BTL Board Assumes Control
Marty Offline

The public acquisition of BTL is complete; tonight, BTL is under the management of publicly – appointed directors. The takeover was made official this evening. At ten to 5:00, the new Board of directors headed by Executive Chairman Nestor Vasquez went in to the corporate headquarters at the Esquivel Telecom Center on St. Thomas Street in Belize City. The new board comprises Chairman and architect of the first privatization of BTL in 1988, Nestor Vasquez, senior Advisors to the Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel and Alan Slusher, CEO in the Ministry of Finance, Audrey Wallace, Businessman and the Prime Minister’s son, Anuar Barrow, and Secretary of the Board, Lois Young. Ousted chairman of the committee of management Dean Boyce walked out as they walked in and he told Keith Swift he has no hard feelings.

Dean Boyce, Ousted
“I certainly hope that going forward, the company flourishes. It’s got a great bunch of employees that put a lot of hard work into the company over the years and I feel proud to have been part of the team so I just hope we can move on to bigger and better things.”

Keith Swift,
“What are your thoughts about the takeover?”

Dean Boyce,
“Well I think it was a different way of doing it. We could have sat down and discussed this for the last 18 months at some point and I really think nationalization was really unnecessary. We had said last year that we would give up the agreement. We had said things like minimum rate of return, we were going to give that up and it wasn’t a problem. What we wanted was just an agreement that was workable for this company.”

Keith Swift,
“Are you voluntarily leaving or because you know that there were police in there?”

Dean Boyce,
“No the police had nothing to do with it. I met with the new Board and shook their hands and wish everybody well and it was very friendly, very amicable.”

Keith Swift,
“You’re not angry or bitter, you seem to be taking it in stride.”

Dean Boyce,
“No but you can’t be emotional about it. It is all supposed to be very matter of fact. You do what’s in the best interest of everybody. I’ve said I think there was a better way of doing it, other people had a different perspective of it.”

Interestingly, though he functioned as the boss at BTL, Boyce maintained in communications with government officials that he was never an employee of Telemedia.

The new board was empowered in the order signed by the Minister of Public Utilities Melvin Hulse this evening. He did that after the enabling legislation was passed by the senate this morning and signed into law by the Governor General this afternoon. It was immediately gazetted and Hulse signed the order – the new board could only go in only after all that was done. The passage of the bill into law was done in near record time – and the reason for that – as explained by the Prime Minister - was so that Michael Ashcroft or his assorted interests couldn’t find some way to undermine it with nuisance litigation.

#349372 - 08/26/09 11:05 AM Re: New BTL Board Assumes Control [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

August 25, 2009

The two organizations representing businesses in Belize have raised concerns about the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the nationalization of our major telecommunication provider or any other company sets an alarming precedent where the business community at home and abroad may be more discriminatory when considering future investments in our country. It says notwithstanding the government’s assertion that the acquisition is for public purpose; the suggestion of its future divestment again reinforces the concerns. The Belize Business Bureau also expressed concern. It said all efforts must be exhausted in order to arrive at a negotiated settlement of any disputes between the Government and any private enterprise. The Bureau says it believes that a government should never find itself in a position where it cannot negotiate with a private enterprise and be forced to take over or nationalize the private enterprise as such actions may send a wrong signal to the worldwide investment community and may deter future direct foreign investment which is a vital part of the development of any country especially in these difficult economic times. The Business Bureau goes further to say it is also its view that the time for the introduction of anti-trust legislation in Belize is long overdue, a position advocated and lobbied for to the various governments since the inception of the Business Bureau. It says that had this legislative been in place it may have prevented or resolved many of the issues now affecting the telecommunication industry. It is urging the Government to move to put such legislation in place as soon as possible.


#349378 - 08/26/09 11:30 AM Re: New BTL Board Assumes Control [Re: Marty]
bywarren Offline
Seems to be valid reasons for concern. One GOB gives a company a guaranteed 15% return and extracts 24.5% tax. Not much incentive to keep costs down and run an efficient business and no wonder BTL is one of the worlds most expensive telephone services to it's customers.
Then the next GOB decides to force the company investors to sell reasons being it is not operating in the country's best interest.
It should be interesting to watch this play out and see what effect it has on Belize's image and ability to attract foreign investment.


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