Barrow Makes His Case on BTL To UnionsPrime Minister Dean Barrow met with the leaders of the national trade union congress of Belize today. A release from the government this evening said that they discussed the proposed amendments to the labour act, the collective bargaining agreement negotiation and the sale of BTL shares by the government.
The release states that the meeting was cordial and respectful, and on the issue of the sale of the BTL shares, the explained why government has chosen to take the course it has.
That course includes offering the Social Security Board a sizeable chunk of the shares. The NTUCB, which sits on the investment committee, voted against the proposal as did the chamber of commerce.
On Friday night on this newscast, you heard the prime minister concede that perhaps those social partners should have been supplied with the prospectus before they were asked to vote on the sale.
And while they wanted the prospectus - in its press release the PUP pointed to what it called an incestuous relationship between Net Vasquez, the executive chairman of BTL, who is also the chair of the investment committee, and Lois Young, the secretary of the BTL board of directors and the chairman of the social security board of directors.
Speaking with us on Friday, the Prime Minister deflected the criticism and urged the social partners not to be distracted by it:..
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Man, a conflict of interest is a situation in which you are either as a matter of fact or potentially involve in a scenario in which you use or can use your position for gain in which you use or can use your vote for some kind of personal enrichment. The chairman of Telemedia has nothing to gain from the sale of Telemedia shares and the fact that he is also the chairman of the investment committee of Social Security is neither here nor there it is not Telemedia selling the shares or wanting to sell the shares to Social Security, it is the government of Belize so any lawyer worth his salt that doesn't have an agenda and is not prepared to be dishonest will tell you that it is ridiculous to suggest that Net Vasquez is in any conflict of interest position. But for God sake I will them to concentrate those concerns on what is legitimate. Don't be side track for example by the PUP and this conflict of interest nonsense, please, the presumption must be in favor of Social Security investment in Telemedia, for God sake this is why we took the damn thing away from Aschroft to stop the chance taking ultimately with the objective of giving it back to the Belizean people. Social Security represents lot of workers and small people, if they are going to be pusillanimous; if they are going to be afraid of their own shadow, I really think then that will contribute to undoing what was an absolutely first weight exercise in my view in terms of nationalism."
The investment committee approved the BTL proposal with the chairman having to use his casting vote to gain a majority.
It has not yet gone to the full Social Security Board of Directors…