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#394496 - 12/10/10 03:36 PM Novelo’s in receivership - Again!
Marty Offline
Last week the newspaper ads were hot as another in a series of foreclosures took place; this time around it was the Novelos who were once again on the chopping block. The brothers somehow managed to wiggle their way out of their first receivership as their Novelo’s Bus Company went under in a fiery ball of controversy and with a 30 million dollar loan from the Development Finance Coorporation which is yet to be fully paid back.

Readers will recall that this took place in late 2005 when the slick, fast talking brothers were unable to hold together what they envisioned but were never able to execute as a national bus service. But so it was that despite big plans the brother duo never managed to hold their dream together and ended up screwing the Belizean people out of 30 million dollars.

Undeterred, however, they reemerged with new companies but with the same old business habits of borrowing and being unable to pay back. For the second time around, however, they went to the Belize Bank where again they secured millions of dollars in loans, and since old habits die hard, they did not pay back as they should. The bank was then forced to move in and the first company to be foreclosed was Bel-Bus that in 2006 took out a 1.3 million dollar loan which it was unable to pay back and fell into default in 2008. So the receivers moved in last week, but trying to secure Bel-Bus’ assets is proving harder to catch than a greasy pig. All the slicker after enduring one receivership, the brothers have become seasoned foreclosure masters and have been able to move Bel-Bus’ assets all over the country and from one owner to the next making it difficult for the receiver to claim the loan’s collateral.

While the brothers play ‘hide the buses with the receiver’, no one is crying blood for the Belize Bank. After all, the Novelos’ history of bad debts at the DFC would have warned those issuing the loans that these boys are financial lepers who nobody would want to touch with a then foot pole. But someone in the bank could have cared less and as we understand it they secured an offshore loan and the Bank’s owners somehow also managed to get shareholding in the Bel-Bus operation. Allegations are that the loan was actually made with British Caribbean Bank as an offshore loan without the Central Bank’s permission. This may render the loan itself illegal.

With so much involved in this latest Novelo tangle, there is no telling where this one will end, but as we understand it, this one will surely make for news as the festering stench in the financial cesspool at the Belize Bank will be uncovered shortly.

The Guardian

#394582 - 12/11/10 04:09 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Receivership leaves 275 jobless for Christmas

For the second time, a company owned by the Novelo brothers Tony and David, has gone into receivership with its bankers for failure to meet debt obligations. So if you were waiting for a National Transport Services Bus this morning after nine-thirty, you would have been waiting in vain. The buses were called off runs and parked at the headquarters at the junction of Faber’s Road and the Western Highway. The Novelo brothers did not appear at a press interview at their lawyer’s office because they told us earlier they were on holiday. Instead, Former Operation’s Officer, spoke to the press saying that two hundred and seventy-five employees are out of a job just before Christmas.

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Officer, National Transport

Phillip Joes

“From nine-thirty or somewhere about, I was the Operations Manager. I am no longer the operations manager for them due to the fact that my service was terminated this morning.”

Jose Sanchez

“Exactly what happened?”

Phillip Jones

“About nine-fifteen, Mister Kevin Castillo accompanied by Mister General Garcia and Mister John Flowers, the Chairman of the Transport Board went in and Mister Kevin Castillo said he is acting on behalf of the Belize Bank and he is now the receiver for National Transport and they are taking over.”

Jose Sanchez

“How many employees do you have? What does that mean for them?”

Phillip Jones

“We have over two hundred and seventy-five employees presently. This morning they didn’t want to talk to us. I tried to ask questions. My concern was to ensure that the runs continue. Mr. Garcia and Mister Flowers told me not to worry about that and I asked if I could have mentioned to the workers that receivers are taking over now. And they said no you don’t need to say nothing and Mister Kevin Castillo asked the police to escort me off the compound. At this point in time, we have employees still calling myself and the directors and other management that they have been turned away from the compound and want to know what to do. So it’s uncertain what the employees position will be but at this point in time, everyone was asked to leave the compound.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now in terms of salaries, when was the next payment expect to be made? It’s the Christmas season.”

Phillip Jones

“Oh mien, you just give me a headache saying that just to the fact that today was our pay week that was to go through the bank this afternoon. What we normally do around this time, we were to pay all employee for the remainder of the holiday due to the fact that we are in the Christmas Season in December we normally pay in advance for the other work days. Right now, I don’t think shock is the word. Payroll was to go in today at midday. And that two hundred and seventy-five employees were to get paid for week that had past and the present week leading up to the Christmas holiday. And it’s really sad. Words cannot express how I feel knowing that we have all these employees knowing that won’t be able to have their salary or have access to their salary and the holiday is here.”

Channel 5

#394583 - 12/11/10 04:10 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

National Transport say there will be no protest

But how did the company reach insolvency? According to Philip Jones, when the government created a new zoning law, it lost most of its commerce. But Jones states that the situation is now in the hands of the lawyers and there will be no protest.

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Officer, National Transport

“We had financial challenges in the company. Due to the fact in 2008, the zoning was implemented for the north and the south. We had lost south, we had lost north, we had lost half of the west. The Ladyville runs we had lost. We had some financial challenges and the bank knew this. We had sit down with the bank, the directors had sit down with the bank. They know that we have a court case pending with the Department of Transport in regards to the zoning that we had lost over seventy-five percent of our runs and it had been financially challenging.

Jose Sanchez

“I understand that in relation to another Novelo related company, there is a challenge of theft and a challenge of kidnapping that supposedly occurred last week.

Phillip Jones

Phillip Jones

“To be frank with you, I can only speak on behalf of National Transport due to the fact that those situations are in the court’s hand.”

Jose Sanchez

“Two hundred and seventy-five workers, you have many family members. Should we see some sort of protest in the upcoming week?”

Phillip Jones

“Well, we leave it in the hands of the lawyers. The lawyers are dealing with the situation. We are a peaceful company, we stand up for our rights and if you have noticed, whenever we feel violated or treated unfairly, we stand up for our rights and we will do it in a professional and civil manner. We are working with our lawyer, she will advise us and we will work according to the law.”

When the receiver took over the company this morning, other bus companies took over the routes which would have been used by National Transport. Last week assets of another company owned by the Novelo brothers were taken by the bank and the Novelos claimed they were able to repossess the assets. The amount owed by the Novelos is said to be substantive. There is also a claim that the Novelos are suing employees of the Belize Bank, who acted in the receivership.

Channel 5

#394584 - 12/11/10 04:11 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

National’s Receivership Disaster

On Tuesday, we told you about the Belize Bank sending receivers to collect the assets of on Bel-Bus, a Novelo's luxury bus company.

And while that seemed remote, today it hit home for scores of commuters as, receivers moved against a more well-known, much-used Novelo's company. That's National Transport - the bus line that controls 20 bus runs between Benque Viejo Town and Belize City.

This morning at 10:00 am - our news team was at the National Transport compound at mile 3 on the Western highway where police were on site and receiver Kevin Castillo and Bob Garcia were on hand.

Now, if you're getting an odd sense of déjà vu - you're dead on: Castillo and Garcia were the same receivers appointed to take over the original Novelo's bus line in March of 2004 - when DFC and the Atlantic Bank hired them to take over. This time it's the Belize Bank - and according to National's former Manager Of Operations Philip Jones, employees were sent home immediately by the receiver:…

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Manager NTSL
"This morning a little bit after 9 the receiver acting on Belize Bank Mr. Kevin Castillo along with Mr. Robert Garcia and Mr. John Flowers who is the chairman of the transport board came in burst the lock and saying that they are now the present receiver and they are acting on behalf of Belize Bank and immediately Mr. Kevin Castillo told me that I need to exit off the compound because I no longer work there. I was terminated this morning on the spot."

Andrea Polanco
"There are busses that are going to be running the regular route that National Transport use to travel that busses were gotten to provide the service that you guys were providing."

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Manager NTSL
"Ok, presently this morning we run our normal schedule as National Transport before the receiver from Belize Bank takeover. Up until 9:30 after that it was like a scuffle due to the fact that the bank had personnel along with police to take passengers off the National bus and have them return back to Belize, we had instance in Belmopan, we had instance in San Ignacio, Benque, Corozal, Orange Walk and the border that passengers was taken off the bus literally so that the bus can be escorted by bank personnel and receiver personnel to Belize City empty and as far as I know this morning after we send the 9:30 immediately there was no bus running and passengers was really inconvenient due to the fact that they were taken off the bus. We have over 275 workers including myself that did not get salary today and will not get salary."

Andrea Polanco
"How did the employees react with all the news?"

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Manager NTSL
"Well the employees they were shock, they were at dismay, they knew we had a good relationship with Belize bank and we can't believe that Belize bank will do this at this point in time knowing that it's a crucial payroll for this week and for the holiday because today which is Friday we would have arrange to pay the employees for the entire Christmas season up until the end of the month because that the way we normally do at Christmas and if we have any extra we give them a bonus in advance so that they can do their Christmas shopping. The workers fates are uncertain at this point in time."

Andrea Polanco
"You weren't given any prior notice that this was going to take place that today they would come and take the busses."

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Manager NTSL
"Nothing, they just showed up at the yard Mr. Kevin Castillo just showed up and had the lock cut because we keep the lock for security reasons, we had some problem in the past and we ensure safety for the employees. Mr. Kevin Castillo went up there and he cut the lock and he just burst in and says that he is here on behalf of Belize bank, he is now the receiver accompanied by Mr. Robert Garcia and Mr. John Flowers and they are taking over the company."

We were unable to reach the receiver, Kevin Castillo.

National controlled 20 runs on the Western Highway, travelling form Belize City to Benque from 5:30 am to 12:30 pm and in the other direction from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

According to Transport Minister Melvin Hulse they got notice of the impending receivership yesterday evening and held emergency meetings with other bus lines in the west to assume those runs starting at 10:00 am this morning - so there was no major inconvenience to commuters. Those operators will keep servicing those 20 runs as long as it is needed. In the north, where the Novelo's held unto 5 runs - that case is not so clear and according to Trasnport CEO Candelaria Saldivar Mortis there may be some inconvenience there because of the two year old injunction that National has against the Ministry Of Transport.

A release from National Transport this evening says that their demise is due to the Zoning Scheme implemented by the Transport Department, which, the company claims has denied them over 50% of the bus runs it had held prior to October 19, 2008. The release states that National's revenue has plummetted leaving it unable to service its debts.

But, it's the Novelo's, after all, and they're not going out just like that…the release states that they, quote, "intend to take all legal action in respect of the Belize Bank Receivership that is necessary to safeguard their rights.." The release ends with a flourish, warning that, quote:

"Belize's economic wellbeing will be seriously impacted if actions taken by commercial banks…impede and hinder the…efforts of….entrepreneurs and allow the extraction of short term financial gain at the expense of …development," end quote. As we alluded to earlier in the week, the Belize Bank has activated a Group Risk Unit to purge the bank of many of its multi-million dollar non performing debts. The clamp-won commences with Luke Espat and the Novelo's, not exactly blue-chip names, but as the Unit works its way down the list, there are suggestions that some captains of commerce may be called upon - and - with 275 jobless in today's single swoop - the implications for an already torpid economy could be massive….

Channel 7

#394755 - 12/14/10 02:52 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Former National transport employees want to get paid

The heavily indebted bus company owned by the Novelo brothers went under last week. The receivers moved in to take over the assets because the company, National Transport, was not meeting debt obligations, reported to be in the millions of dollars. National Transport collapsed, but it was not the end. It has now emerged under a new name and we’ll have more on this later. Earlier today, News Five’s Jose Sanchez found out how the employees are faring.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

It’s been four days since National Transport went into receivership. Its work force was sent home when the company, owned by the Novelo brothers, collapsed. The former operations officer says that they intend to get proper compensation for the employees.

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Officer, National Transport

Philip Jones

“At this present time the directors and management are working hard to ensure that all the workers get their severance pay, week and bonuses. That’s what the directors are doing. Since we had lost the runs in 2008 with the zoning, we have been working with the bank very closely; they knew our position. We were working on a cash flow basis due to the fact that we had lost seventy percent of run. That matter is in court and there would have been damages to be paid to National Transport due to the fact that the grounds on which the zoning was implemented by Department of Transport was illegal.”

Bus drivers of over 11 years for the company are feeling the pressure.

Milton Cardines, Former Employee, National Transport

“I run Faber’s Road Bus. The situation tight right now mien. Family deh bout, kids deh fi feed, bills pile up and this dah wah, low blow weh ketch everybody. I di work good one and Friday police man come and take away all the license and escort everybody in the yard with the bus them and thing. Dah wah real pain right yah right now cause people have to eat and Christmas deh right ya.”

Mark Cardines, Former Employee, National Transport

Mark Cardines

“I mi di drive bus and when they come and say they want the bus go park and thing. I mean fi say, Christmas deh right round the bend and we have family fi take care of, we got rents to pay, we got bills to deal with and then they wah come and do we thing like this. And nobody notify anybody and tell we nothing.”

Jose Sanchez

“So as of today, Monday, you are not making…”

Mark Cardines

“We noh di see no head way and thing and so we di try get wah lee bus and thing to get…cause you see the boss he own Belize Transit so we just got to get a bus to get back in the run because the run concern to we still yet.”

Jose Sanchez

“So when it comes to wife, kids, how many?”

Mark Cardines

“I have four kids.”

Jose Sanchez

“Bills to pay.”

Mark Cardines

“I got bills to pay, rent to pay.”

Jose Sanchez

“And you know the kids the look forward to Christmas.”

Mark Cardines

“And my daughter di go to U.B., high school, so I have to mek money for that.”

Milton Cardines

Jose Sanchez

“You know the central bank has been pressuring Belize Bank for months for non performing loans. And that is the reason I understand for the foreclosures. Do you think the Central Bank is putting unnecessary pressure because we have been here before?”

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Officer, National Transport

“To be frank with you, I can’t comment on bank because I deal with operations and I deal directly through Belize Bank and I know how the pay roll operate with Belize Bank and we had that money there that we were preparing for Belize Bank so that the payroll. Like I mentioned since 2008, we had lost seventy percent of our runs and we had been working on a cash basis so everything we do we had to pay cash to find resources and to get the company going.”

But cash is what the drivers don’t have. And they need jobs.

Milton Cardines, Former Employee, National Transport

“Right now dah anything right now. I confused. If I get a bus I could struggle and thing and work it out, but as far as it concern, dah any bus jump in the mix right now and thing. So whosoever have wah bus out there, I want a bus and try work it out.”

Jones says a protest has not been ruled out of the Novelo brothers’ plan. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

#394757 - 12/14/10 02:54 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Back on the road: 9 lives of David and Tony Novelo

But all is not lost for the Novelo brothers, Tony and David. Like cats, they apparently have nine lives. It’s not the first time that a company of theirs went into receivership. If you recall, Novelos Bus Company also fell into receivership and when they lost that business, they created National Transport. And although National Transport is not operating any bus service, the Novelo brothers, using another of its nine lives, are still on the road under the names Belize Metro and Belize Intransit. The owner of Lopez Shuttle believes that it’s not right.

Carlos Lopez, Owner Lopez Shuttle

Carlos Lopez

“The issue I’m facing is that I was informed on Saturday night by the person in charge of traffic for me to get more buses for my route because they will leave me on the route I am on which is the route that I pioneer. Not to interfere with other routes. The person, Mister Kevin Jenkins, told me not to operate any buses in the Fabers Road or King’s Park Areas because they will facilitate other providers to operate those routes. So I told him no problem. This morning to my dismay one of my drivers called and said Mister Lopez there are some othyer buses out here and when I came out here I found out that Novelos have hired three buses to operate on my route. The three buses that are currently operating on my route are one skai bus, one bus from space line in Ladyville and another school/church bus.”

Jose Sanchez

“But haven’t they been placed on receivership?”

Carlos Lopez

“They have been placed in receivership and I am trying to find what is going on. I called Mister Kevin Jenkins. He said that his hands are tied, he got instructions from hirer authorities—I won’t call names—to facilitate Novelos to continue to operate on my route and also to operate in Faber’s Road and Belama.”

Jose Sanchez

“The other routes—new routes were issued I understand. Who were these given to?”

Carlos Lopez

“Well the new facilitator of the new routes according to my paper that I have here: National Transport were supposed to be given Faber’s Road, King’s Park and West Landivar. Mister Haylock Bus Service should be given Belama route. Lemoth Bus Service, Port Loyola and there were intentions of putting me in the lake Independence Area which I have contested all the way. I actually have my lawyer working on an injunction to get this case solved.”

Jose Sanchez

“Just clarify for me. National Transport has been placed into receivership but you are saying that Novelo’s brothers are still operating?”

Carlos Lopez

“This morning, Mister Philip Jones—I’ll quote him directly—called the radio and said that National Transport is in receivership, but their company Belize Intransit and Belize Metro have the right to City Bus which I know for a fact is not so because the document I have here say clear National Transport doing Faber’s road, King’s Park and West Landivar. So they are just trying to play cat and mouse.”

Jose Sanchez

“Is it true that Novelo’s is still operating buses?”

Phillip Jones, Former Operations Officer, National Transport

Philip Jones

“Yes we are still operating buses. As of this morning we have restored back City runs through the course of alternate sources with bus providers. National Transport, I would just like to set the record straight, National Transport has nothing to do with Belize Intransit. Belize Intransit and Metro are separate company. However, the receiver still went out Friday and approached all the buses, took away the cash, take away passengers off the bus and escort the bus to a private compound.”

Jose Sanchez

“Are you infringing on the rights of other bus drivers like Mr. Lopez?”

Phillip Jones

“No. Mr. Lopez has a permit. The city permit is different and separate from the highway. The highway is national traffic and the city is for the Belize City council awarded routes. However, Mr. Lopez only has one route in the City and we have the majority runs in the city so the National Transport has nothing to do with Belize Intransit.”

If you have any doubt about who owns Belize Transit and Belize Metro, a release they put out today says that they have “resumed regular service bus runs in Belize City.” The release also says that they “are providing full city services, via buses which have been leased to provide the same level of safe and reliable service to those Belizeans who trust and have supported Belize Intransit and Belize Metro.”

Channel 5

#394859 - 12/15/10 03:32 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Novelo’s & Receivership: The Sequel

Tonight, 40 year old Peter King Contreras is in lockdown at the Ladyville police station; he confessed to killing his mother in law and then driving around with her in the car! It is one of the most bizarre and disturbing cases of murder we've seen in recent times and Monica Bodden will have that story for you shortly.

But first, we go unto other news - and again it's about those National Transport Employees who are jobless and clueless about their last and next paycheck.

Last night you heard the cries of those employees. The concerns are genuine and the issue is real, but the bottom line is no one seems to want to take responsibility for paying these two hundred and seventy five workers who have been without work since last Friday.

Now, it's always the responsibility of the employer to pay their workers, but the Novelo's -artful players that they are at this receivership thing - have managed to divert the blame to the Belize Bank and its receivers.

And today, some sixty workers met with lawyers Dolores Balderamos Garcia & Lisa Shoman, as well as former owners of the company, David & Tony Novelo and their former operations manager, Phillip Jones.

It was a private meeting at the Novelo's home in King's Park - but we worked our way into the session where the concerns being ventilated hadn't changed- the workers told the head table that they need their money now and they want to know what the status of their employment is.

Here are a few excerpts of that meeting:

Tony Novelo, Former Co-Owner, NTSL
"We are bringing you all together because obviously this happen - we were surprise, you were surprise. I heard a driver reporting to me that even at gun point he was put in the bus to give his purse, If that is true or not true we are gathering together as a family, there are things that we need to put in place. The first question I want to ask right now is that a payroll had to take place on Friday, the money was there, so we need to start to get answers from the receiver where that money is for your payroll."

"All that talking is good to hear but while the grass is growing the horse is starving. We have family to feed, money is not there and we would want to know how you can help us for the holidays because we know that to get paid will not be before Christmas. So we want to know from you how you all can help us to get some money before Christmas."

"Charters and garage pay - all this was work done before receivership, is there any way that we can retrieve any money from that?"

David Novelo, Former Co-Owner, NTSL
"They took the money, the deposits; the receiver came and took it. They took all the money and that's what we are explaining."

"So you are saying that all the money was in the bin in the cash room? The vacation pay. Because I understand that no money was in the cash room, no money."

David Novelo, Former Co-Owner, NTSL
"Gentlemen let me tell you something here, if you look at the newspaper today - I mean all of you work with us, they are saying that there are busses in Mexico and Guatemala, you guys know there is nothing there. You guys have been with us, you know in terms of everything in operational of the company, you all know how we work, you all know that Burgos and the girls work every morning - they fix the deposit and the deposit is sent to the bank, so what you have to realize about this receivership was that when Kevin Castillo and Robert Garcia arrive, our attorney was there in the presence of Phillip Jones and Gilbert everybody said let's do a stock taking, let us show you what we have, let us show you the money inventory. They said no, get out! As soon as we wrap up this meeting Garisa will take one by one, so you all see what we already have work in terms of what was owed. To other employees that are saying that there was garage pay that was owed and so forth, we want to make sure you cross-check with Ms. Garisa and Burgos will have all of that updated so that when we have our attorneys - do we have the consensus that Ms. Shoman will lead all of us together and a class action in terms of this?"


David Novelo, Former Co-Owner, NTSL
"Ok, so what we will do then is make sure we have all our T's cross and all our I's dotted so we take and everybody knows exactly how much everybody is paid."

After the meeting, we caught up with Brothers David and Tony Novelo to get the story from the always glib operators. They told us that they were totally taken by surprise last Friday when the company was taken over. They said they believe the decision made by the Belize Bank wasn't in good faith:

David Novelo: Former Owner of NTSL
"What is important about your question is that why did receivership happen on Friday. We feel that it did not had to have happened. We've had a very close relationship over ten years relationship with Belize Bank and even after the receivership happened with DFC and Atlantic Bank we continued working together. Really National was affected two and a half years ago when the zoning was implemented we have ongoing court cases when we lost that revenue that affected our cash flow position it affected our revenue mainstream, so we have been basically very close together working with the bank we have been informing them every step of the way our attorneys have been also forwarding all the legal positions on it and on Friday I mean basically we had not been forewarned or anything at ten o'clock in the morning the ban decided to Belize Bank decided to send a letter of demand and fifteen minutes later we had basically the receiver Kevin Castillo and Robert Garcia breaking in the doors and barging into the place. For all our employees who know our operations every Friday morning is when we compile our cash is taken to the bank and then salaries are processed. So basically what really happened on Friday salaries are processed at mid-day so when they came at ten o'clock they physically took over the monies that was there in the cashier's room and that's why the employees were not paid. Basically all accounts were seized."

David Novelo: Former Owner of NTSL
"The same attorneys and the same vigor they have been working in making sure that the company gets back in terms of its routes and so for the same thing we gonna purse it with our workers in terms of their salaries and in terms of what supposed to be their severance pay. And we are saying that we want to safeguard the employment of all these two hundred and seventy five employees, we gonna re-apply again. Much things can be said about the family and our company but one thing can be said is that we can get you from point A to point B and you can depend on the service so that's what we intend to do."

Tony Novelo: Former Owner of NTSL
"So you said u were surprised when it happened on Friday. Didn't you have any prior knowledge that the company was going into receivership before Friday? No, my brother and I have been working. We have said it publicly clear from the year 2008 that routes were cancelled country wide. We have said it- the debt portfolio will be difficult to manage, we communicate it to Government we sat down with our bankers and said listen-we won't be able to meet our obligations the cash flow- the earning cash flow of the company has been diluted. The bank has worked with us and really there has been no communication-well this is the end of the road-No. "

David Novelo: Former Owner of NTSL
"Up to this day am still asking questions why Belize Bank take that initiative. They were aware that the court case was coming early January. By putting in receivership National Transport in the month of December really doesn't makes sense even in the terms of business send or banking sense because what you're really doing is really and truly you're just making the employees and staff pay a price that they don't deserve- the hardest price of unemployment. I say as a prudent and responsible banking-the bank was aware that there was a thirty two plus million dollars of damages claim on court that would be heard in January so if you are a banker and you'd want to get back your money you wouldn't like to prejudice that court case. So the reality is that I would like to say to the whole country- I personally would like to say that I feel the bank did not act on good faith basis. Belize Bank did not work on a good faith basis. Belize Bank did not exercise the fiduciary duty that they should've done, because there is a responsibility from the borrower and also to the one that lends money."

David Novelo: Former Owner of NTSL
"So you said earlier in the first receivership they took away all the busses but this time you still have some busses remaining? What happened is that the Transit -Belize Transit is total separate company it has no liability basically because we have all these different companies pulled them all together to sustain and maintain National. So really and truly when the Receivers took over possession on Friday he took over a lot of assets that are not part of the Belize Bank. We enacted on Monday and the Belize Transit is back. We have other runs like the Premier Line that goes to Chetumal-they're not part of the National Group. What we are hoping at this stage Andrea, the most important thing get the employees' salaries paid and let's start moving and get them jobs for the next years to come. So there's no guarantee as to when they'll be paid? Well today as I said we can't give no guarantees all we can do is that, as directors of the company and workers we will stand hand in hand and make sure that the receiver/Belize Bank pay their alimony that is due."

We contacted the Belize Bank about the Novelo allegations and representatives of the bank issued the following response to comments made by David Novelo (look down):

(i) The decision to place NTSL into receivership was a prudential one given the financial situation of the company;

(ii) It would have made no prudential sense to defer receivership until the conclusion of a case the conclusion of which and the outcome of which are entirely uncertain; it could drag on indefinitely;

(iii) In any event the case can be carried on under the receivership and, if any benefits flow from the case, it accrues to "NTSL in Receivership" so there is no prejudice to the court case, even assuming the claim has merit;

(iv) The situation regarding the workers will be carefully examined and dealt with by the Receivership. In the meantime, those responsible for the financial position of NTSL are exploiting the situation of the workers to excuse their own conduct and to call into question the Bank's good faith."

So the Novelo's are accusing the Belize Bank of acting in bad faith and the Bank is accusing the company of "exploiting the situation…to excuse their own conduct". Cases can be made for both sides of the story but, jump high, jump low, for 275 workers, the bottom line remains the same: Christmas is here and they've got no job and no paycheck for their last week of work.

Which brings us to the issue of the safe that Phillip Jones brought up yesterday. He said that Up until Friday morning they had over $65,000 dollars in the company safe to make payment for the payroll and issue Christmas bonuses. We certainly got a generally skeptical view of this from some workers -but whne we tried to contact the receiver Kevin Castillo to ask about it, both yesterday and today, on both occasions, he strictly had no comment….Channel 7

#394903 - 12/15/10 11:21 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
And the Novelo's will reincarnate with another bus service, imagine that.
Belize based travel specialist

#395407 - 12/23/10 03:49 PM Re: Novelo’s in receivership - Again! [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Novelo Brothers back in court over transport routes

The Novelo brothers, David and Tony, the principal owners of National Transport also made an appearance in court today. The matter which had been adjourned from before dealt with an application to do two things; strike out the judicial review case for National Transport and the Transport Board and the 2008 injunction which was placed on National Transport that reduced the number of routes on the company. Not only did this particular court battle start before the company went into receivership, according to the attorney for the Novelo brothers, it is a major reason why National Transport went into receivership.

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Novelo Brothers

Lisa Shoman

“Because as you know the company, National Transport, has been put in receivership, the receiver did choose to have an additional attorney added onto the matter. And will be looking at the case and joining into it. So what they’ve done is to ask the court to give it a short adjournment until such time that it is then prepared to move ahead with the case.”

Jose Sanchez

“What does this mean for the commuters and former employees?”

Lisa Shoman

“In terms of the commuters in the north, service has been carried out per usual. There were other bus providers other than national transport—I understand that that gap has been filled. And there is now an adjournment until the fourth of January as to the lifting of the injunction. It simply means that at this point in time, the minister, no matter his opinion on the subject, cannot actually grant any license at this point. The injunction remains in place at least until the fourth of January and may very well remain in place until thereafter. I cannot say at this point. That will be up to the court to determine.”

Jose Sanchez

“How strongly do you feel about the case regarding the zoning issues that really…?”

Lisa Shoman

“We’ve always felt very strongly about the case. In fact, we believe that part of the reason why National Transport is now in receivership has to do directly with the imposition of new zoning rules in which the ministry was purported to say that bus providers can only provide service in one zone—it was either south, west or north. As you know, we were able to get an injunction to stop ministry it in the north only. But national transport denied runs in south. It had the west drastically slashed and it had an affiliated company, Ladyville Transport had its runs taken away as shuttle from Ladyville. That remains as is. The case has not been heard and it is still pending for a claim for damages for most of these things.”

Shoman says that the injunction in the north is still in place so the ministry can’t go ahead with plans to have National Transport or any other company shut out of the run because it was providing services in other areas. The Novelo brothers return to court on January fourth.

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