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#77061 - 12/12/03 12:51 AM BTL sold!
Marty Offline
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovative Communication
Corporation, LLC has agreed to acquire Belize Telecommunications Ltd. (BTL),
the national telephone company of Belize, it was announced today by Jeffrey J.
Prosser, Innovative's president, CEO and owner.
Prosser noted that as previously announced in the Belize House of
Representatives, the Government of Belize has been working with Carlisle
Holdings Limited to facilitate the sale of their interest in BTL, in keeping
with the group's business plan and to further encourage competition in this
sector.
Carlisle agreed this week to sell its 52.46 percent interest in BTL for
US$52 million and a US$5 million premium for its majority position. The
actual sale will be completed within 60 days on the payment of the last
US$5 million after a due diligence period.
This agreement has triggered a process which within 60 days must satisfy
Carlisle Holdings Ltd., the Government of Belize and the buyer of the shares,
Innovative Communication Corporation, LLC. Innovative Communication
Corporation, LLC is already deeply involved in the telecommunication industry
in the Caribbean and elsewhere and is aware of the government's commitment to
competition and the need for a long term investment strategy to meet the
demands of a fast growing economy in an extremely competitive international
environment.
Once this process is completed and the actual share transfer takes place,
BTL shares will not only have a book value but also a tested market value
allowing other shareholders to consider their relative positions.
According to the announcement today by the Government of Belize, this
complex process was necessary in order to ensure a competitive
telecommunications industry. Once fully completed BTL and Intelco will be
competitors with full connectivity, and Belizeans will benefit all around.
The government's announcement further noted that both Carlisle Holdings
Ltd. and Innovative Communication Corporation, LLC, have disclosure
obligations, including those to their Boards. A responsible and authorized
public announcement of this arrangement could not be disclosed until cleared
by all parties and authorities. Today, December 11, 2003, this procedure was
completed.
Through its related companies, Innovative Communication Corporation, LLC,
owns and operates trendsetting telecom and media companies in the U.S. Virgin
Islands and throughout the Caribbean.

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#77062 - 12/12/03 03:39 PM Re: BTL sold!
Katie Valk Offline
From the frying pan into the proverbial fire, me thinks.
_________________________
Belize based travel specialist
www.belize-trips.com
info@belize-trips.com

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#77063 - 12/12/03 04:59 PM Re: BTL sold!
skullyboy Offline
So the question is. Will this be better or worse?

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#77064 - 12/12/03 07:38 PM Re: BTL sold!
Marty Offline
more press on this...

The Government of Belize today confirmed what the
Opposition announced yesterday: that is, the
impending sale of majority ownership of Belize
Telecommunications Limited. According to a release
today from the Government Press Office, Michael
Ashcroft's Carlisle Group has agreed to sell its
fifty-two point four-six percent interest in B.T.L. for
a
price of fifty-two million U.S. dollars plus an
additional
five million as a premium for Carlisle's majority
position. The actual share transfer will take place
following a sixty-day due diligence period. Probably
the most interesting thing about today's
announcement is what it doesn't say. That is, while
Innovative Communications of the U.S. Virgin Islands
is mentioned as the eventual buyer of the shares, it is
not spelled out that it is the Government of Belize
that is actually purchasing the shares from Carlisle as
an intermediary before reselling them to Innovative.
That bridge financing is presumably coming from a
large U.S. dollar loan that will be repaid when
Innovative pays its money to the government. The
release also makes no mention of the twenty-five
percent stake in B.T.L. owned by the Belize Social
Security Board. According to the U.D.P., these shares
will also be sold to Innovative at the same price
Carlisle is charging, less of course, the five million
U.S. dollar majority premium. The attraction for
government in the transaction is that it kills many
troublesome birds with one stone. The sale of Social
Security's shares, which should bring in around
twenty-five million in badly needed U.S. currency, will
help government meet its foreign currency obligations,
as well as provide the financial system with a way out
of its present liquidity crunch.

Perhaps more importantly, the deal also gets Lord
Ashcroft off government's back. Ashcroft and B.T.L.
had been driving hard for a level playing field with
regard to the alleged privileged position occupied by
B.T.L.'s new competitor, INTELCO. Ashcroft has
described INTELCO as a "retirement plan for the
boys," and B.T.L. has refused to agree on a rate for
interconnection between the two systems. The new
owners will presumably prove more cooperative.

The question is whether they will also become more
acquisitive. Innovative and its chairman, Jeffrey
Prosser, are known as aggressive players and it is not
inconceivable that part of the deal is for Prosser to
purchase a major stake in INTELCO. Who actually
owns INTELCO has never been publicly stated, and
such a purchase would make good business sense...
provided you are not a Belizean looking forward to
lower phone rates.

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#77065 - 12/12/03 09:29 PM Re: BTL sold!
ckocian Offline
Just some different players in the same old game.

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#77066 - 12/15/03 04:52 PM Re: BTL sold!
Marty Offline
New Prosser Company to Buy Majority in Belize Phone Company, The Virgin
Islands Daily News
http://www.site05.web1.cpsgpublishing.com/index.pl/article_home?id=278404

Innovative Communication's Prosser Says Internet Must Not Compete With
Telephone Companies
http://www.iccvi.com/news-details.asp?PressReleaseID={D864F163-573F-44A8-9E11-AC2426FA4350}

Headquartered in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Innovative is the
largest independent and privately owned telephone company in the U.S.
ICC is a diversified telecom and media company with extensive interests
in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Saint-Martin,
Guadeloupe, Martinique and France.
-----------------------------------------------------
Columbia Journalism Review
http://archives.cjr.org/year/98/1/gannett.asp

Gannett's Sellout in Paradise

(see attached picture) Jeffrey Prosser, right, who makes much of his
money from a phone-sex business, met in September with employees of the
Virgin Island Daily News, the prizewinning newspaper that has been his
longtime critic, and that he is now buying from the Gannett chain.
(photo: virgin islands daily news/Hillary Hodge)

by Mark Hunter
Hunter's most recent book is Le Journalisme D'Investigation, a
comparison of investigative reporting in the U.S. and France.

Gannett may have several million reasons to sell the Virgin Islands
Daily News to Jeffrey L. Prosser, but do they add up? Prosser, a
forty-one-year-old financier, has cut a wide and controversial swath
through the islands, becoming in the process one of the principal
targets of the Daily News, a small but stellar daily. The big chain is
handing the leash of a fine watchdog over to a man at whom the dog was
barking.

The Daily News is the dominant voice in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and
even its critics there -- like Tito Morales, president of the
territory's Central Labor Council -- consider it an irreplaceable source
of essential news. "There's a lot of things they do that aren't positive
for the community," Morales says, but "there's things they say that need
to be said." Professional colleagues tend to agree with the latter. The
St. Thomas-based paper has been honored with a startling list of prizes,
including a public service Pulitzer (in 1995), a Selden Ring, several
Investigative Reporters & Editors and Sigma Delta Chi Awards -- and
thirteen "Best of Gannett" awards just since 1991.

Along the way, in a territory with a total population of about 109,000,
the News's circulation has risen from 6,000 in 1979 -- when Gannett
bought it for $3.5 million -- to about 16,000 today. Hurricane Marilyn
in 1995 wreaked havoc with the local economy, but Ron Dillman, the
paper's c.e.o., says things are looking up. "You ever see a Gannett
paper that wasn't profitable?" he says. "We were -- and are --
profitable." Dillman says he first heard that his paper had been sold to
Prosser on the radio.

And how does Prosser make his money? Among other things, if Gannett's
executives read the SEC filings of Prosser's company, Atlantic Tele
Network (ANK), they would know that a declining but major source of
ANK's revenue consists of about 8 million minutes per month of
"audiotext" traffic, through its Guyanan subsidiary, GT&T. This is
900-number telephone traffic, on which callers pay for entertainment or
information. While Prosser's spokesman, Ed Crouch, says the traffic
includes services about such subjects as "psychics and sports cars," he
concedes that "a substantial percentage" of it comes from sex calls.

(continued)
------------------------------------------------------------

Innovative Telephone Gets 17% Rate Increase -- First In 18 Years
http://www.discount-long-distance-services.com/081903-3.asp

VITELCO/Innovative Telephone Company Deploys DSL Services To Unserved
Markets
http://www.paradyne.com/news_n_events/pressrel/06-13-02.html

Rate Investigation:
http://www.senate.gov.vi/BillTracking/Bills/24-0060.pdf
BILL NO. 24-0060
TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
Regular Session
2001
To amend title 30, section 20, Virgin Islands Code, pertaining to rate
investigations

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone, formerly know as "Vitelco", is a
subsidiary
of ICC and the major supplier of commercial and residential telephone
service in the
Virgin Islands; and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone is a utility subject to regulation by the
Virgin
Islands Public Services Commission hereinafter referred to as (PSC); and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone has been a monopoly in the Virgin Islands
for
over 25 years, without sharing its consumer market with any competitors;
and

WHEREAS, by virtue of its status as a monopoly and utility, Innovative
Telephone has realized profits in the millions of dollars over the
years; and

WHEREAS, very little of Innovative Telephone's profits are returned to
the
community by way of industrial development of civic and community
services; and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone has been a beneficiary of the Industrial
Development Commission (hereinafter referred to as IDC) for a number of
years, up to
September 1996; and

WHEREAS, not long ago Innovative Telephone filed an application for an
extension of and approval of additional tax exemptions from the IDC; and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone in 1997 received from the IDC the
following
tax exemptions; 90% Income Tax, 100% Gross Receipts Tax, 100% Property
Tax and
83.3% Customs Duty; and

2
WHEREAS, the majority of Virgin Islanders believe that the tax
exemptions to
Innovative Telephone were not necessary since Innovative Telephone is
regulated by the
PSC which determines a reasonable profit margin for Innovative Telephone
through the
setting of reasonable telephone rates; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands voted unanimously to
petition
the PSC to reduce Innovative Telephone's rates by 20%; and

WHEREAS, the granting of the tax exemptions by the IDC to Innovative
Telephone was not conditioned nor coupled with a rate decrease with the
loss of revenues
to the Government; and

WHEREAS, it is the feeling and will of the Legislature that the citizens
of the
Virgin Islands, who are Innovative Telephone's customers should also
receive direct
benefits as a result of the tax exemptions granted; and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone sets aside $600,000 a year for rate
investigations and if not utilized will be returned to Innovative
Telephone as profits; and

WHEREAS, a rate investigation has not been conducted since 1992; and

WHEREAS, Innovative Telephone has charged consumers $2 million per year
for insurance that the utility never purchased; and

WHEREAS, the PSC acted illegally in dismissing the Legislature's request
without a full hearing; and

WHEREAS, a preliminary rate investigation was made by Georgetown
Consulting Group and that investigation proved that a full rate
investigation is warranted
and that the ratepayer could be owed as much as $50 million;

Now, Therefore;

BE IT ENACTED by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands:

SECTION 1. Title 30, chapter 1, section 20, Virgin Islands Code, is
amended by
designating the existing language as subsection (a) and adding
subsection (b) to read as
follows:

"(b) Commencing July 30, 2001, the Commission shall conduct rate
investigations of all regulated utilities biennially and hold formal
hearings as required
under subsection (a) of this section."

3
Thus passed by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands on April 9, 2001.
-----------------------------------
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-01-2721A1.pdf

On September 10, 2001, pursuant to section 1.716 of the Commission's
rules, 47
C.F.R. § 1.716, AT&T Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, AT&T of the
Virgin Islands, Inc. (collectively, "AT&T") filed an informal complaint
against Virgin Islands Telephone
Corporation d/b/a Innovative Telephone ("Vitelco").1 AT&T alleges that
Vitelco has violated section 201(b) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended ("the Act"), 47 U.S.C. § 201(b), and the Commission's rules
regarding the maximum allowable rate-of-return for local exchange
carriers in 47 C.F.R. § 65.700 et seq. According to a proposed order
attached to a joint motion filed by the parties on September 10, 2001,
"Vitelco is expected to respond to the complaint by denying all of the
allegations in the complaint and claiming it has no liability to AT&T."

AT&T's claims are in key respects similar to claims presented by GCI
Communications in a formal complaint on which the Commission ruled in
favor of the complainant.3 That ruling is now under review by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ("D.C. Circuit").4

3. Because the outcome of that appeal is likely to affect the resolution
of AT&T's
informal complaint, and to conserve the resources of the parties and the
Commission, the parties submitted a joint motion, on September 10, 2001,
proposing that the Commission require Vitelco not to respond to AT&T's
informal complaint until ninety (90) days after the D.C. Circuit's
decision on the merits in ACS of Anchorage, Inc. v. FCC, Case No.
01-1059, has become final and appellate remedies have been exhausted.5

(Appellate review still seems to be on-going in connection with the
filing by AT&T as well as others very similar to it, so no final
decision seems to have yet been made. World Comm filed a similar
lawsuit, http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2002/DA-02-34A1.html)
----------------------------------------------
ICC: OVILU no longer exists
By Jamie Bate, St. Thomas Source, 29 November 2000
In the continuing battle over the representation of 24 St. Croix Cable
TV employees, Innovative Communication Corp. officials Tuesday declared
that the Our Virgin Islands Labor Union, which the cable workers voted
unanimously to join last year, no longer exists.
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43/270.html

In his opposition plaintiff asserts that Prosser is a party defendant
herein
and has been sued in his individual capacity based upon his personal
conduct.
Plaintiff argues that Prosser's motive and intent are critical elements
herein and
that such information is only w ithin Prosser's control and cannot be
provided by
other deponents. Per plaintiff's partial opposition, plaintiff' s theory
is that his
" transfer w as not a reorganization but a fraud upon the Industrial
Development
Committee (sic) to pad VITELCO's employee list in order to meet the
minimum
number of required employees to maintain VITELCO' s IDC benefits."
Prosser's
answer repeatedly asserts that plaintiff' s transfer to VITELCO was part
of the
consolidat ion of the marketing functions for all ICC companies.
http://www.vid.uscourts.gov/dcopinion/Nyfield2x.pdf

Finally, Prosser's assertion that the plaintiff failed to
proffer sufficient facts to show that he had personal knowledge
of the allegedly injurious corporate acts is baseless. As the
party seeking a protective order, Prosser carried the burden
before the Magistrate Judge to demonstrate that "good cause"
exists for protecting him from deposition discovery. FED. R. CIV.
P. 26(c); Glenmede Trust Co. v. Thompson, 56 F.3d 476, 483 (3d
Cir. 1995). "'Good cause'" is established when it is specifically
demonstrated that disclosure will cause a clearly defined and
serious injury." Id. (citing Pansy v. Borough of Stroudsburg, 23
F.3d 772, 786 (3d Cir. 1994). Further, "[b]road allegations of
harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples, however, will not
suffice." Id. As noted by Magistrate Judge Resnick, Prosser
did not aver lack of knowledge of the disputed matters, which are
clearly relevant to the plaintiff's allegations. In any event,
given the full record properly before the Magistrate Judge, this
Court agrees that Mr. Prosser failed to carry his burden of
demonstrating "good cause" as required by Rule 26(c).
http://www.vid.uscourts.gov/dcopinion/99ci202.stx.appeal.pdf

More labor violation charges leveled at ICC
By Jamie Bate, St. Thomas Source, 29 November 2000
The two dozen St. Croix Cable TV employees locked out of their jobs by
Innovative Communication Corp. a week ago took up positions outside
ICC's brand new building Monday to protest the company's order that they
join the United Steelworkers union.
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43/269.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------
The Six Percent Advisory Fee
Under an Advisory Services Agreement signed in 1991, GT&T paid ATN an
annual fee for management services of six percent of its gross revenues.
From 1991 to 1997, the fees totalled US$38 million from gross revenues
of US$762 million. What is particularly troubling about this arrangement
is that, in addition to the six percent fee, GT&T is required to pay for
all the costs involved in the provision of the services. The fee is
payable even if no services are provided.

It is an extraordinarily generous give-away to ATN
A similar arrangement between ATN and VITELCO, its Virgin Islands
telephone subsidiary, was prohibited by the Virgin Islands Public
Service Commission. In the USA., such schemes have been prohibited since
the 1930s. Why ATN has been allowed to exploit GT&T and its ratepayers
in such naked fashion all these years is beyond comprehension. GT&T and
ATN have contended that the Purchase Agreement gives GT&T the right to
the six percent fee. This claim is absolutely false.

http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news/ns10305.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------

PAY DIRT!! PROSSER DEAL GIVES GOVT. WORKERS LAND INSTEAD OF MONEY
by Nom D. Plume
http://www.onepaper.com/islandmelee/?v=d&i=&s=Humor:Local&p=1650


ST. CROIX, USVI - Government workers waiting for their retroactive
pay have finally hit pay dirt - literally. Mega-gajillionaire Jeffrey
Prosser wants to give the VI government 1000 acres of Carambola for
past-due wages. But with more than 7,000 employees owed money,
somebody's going to be left holding the bag - of soil!
The proposed deal calls for the land to be divided into 2800
parcels, which means less than 40-percent of those owed money will get a
piece of property. Government officials are currently trying to figure
out a way to satisfy everyone.
One possible solution is to have a land rush similar to those used
to settle the American West. All seven-thousand employees workers will
stand shoulder to shoulder at a starting line. When a cannon is fired,
the crowd will all run as fast as they can to grab a piece of land. To
make things fair, retired government workers will be given a five-second
head start.
The Legislature and the Executive Branch have also hammered out a
plan to satisfy St. Thomas residents who say they don't want to build a
home on St. Croix. St. Thomians who take property instead of money will
be allowed to dig up their land and take it back with them.
In exchange for the Carambola acreage, Prosser's Innovative
Communications Corp. and all of its subsidiaries will get a free ride
from taxes for 30-years and avoid the scrutiny of IDC hearings. Even
though the intimate details of the proposal have yet to be learned, some
senators and radio talk show hosts have already endorsed the deal.
Critics have named this phenomenon "Prossertution". "Part of the problem
in the Virgin Islands is that we have too many Prossertutes who are
willing to do anything for the right price," said one observer.
The amount of land each employee receives depends on how much
money they are owed by the government. According to estimates, some will
receive a full acre of land, while others will get no more than a Ziploc
bag full of dirt.
Labor leaders say most of the rank and file members want money
instead of land. "What the hell are people supposed to do with a baggy
full of soil?", asked one Union representative. "If this is such a good
deal, then I guess it'll be OK to use handfuls of dirt to pay my phone
and cable bills."
In fact, local officials are currently considering other ways to
use land-for-money swaps. They are hoping to offer VI government-owned
land to the Federal Government as payment for their overdue FEMA loans.
Later this month, the Senate will vote on legislation to change the
official currency of the Virgin Islands from the US Dollar to dirt. If
the bill passes, Carambola soil will be considered legal tender and will
be available in 50, 20, 10 and 5 flowerpot denominations.

ALL CIRCUITS BUSY: VITELCO HAS SOLUTION - DON'T CALL
by Nom D. Plume
http://www.onepaper.com/islandmelee/?v=d&i=&s=Humor:Local&p=1542
ST. THOMAS, USVI - Have you become frustrated while trying to make
a call and you keep getting the "all circuits are busy" message? Are you
a business owner who's been losing out on big sales because you can't
get through to the credit card authorization center? Are you still
trying to call loved ones in the states to wish them a Merry Christmas?
Fear not, the Virgin Islands Telephone Corporation has the solution for
your problems: DON'T CALL!
That's right, VITELCO officials say they don't have enough lines
for their customers, so if you want to reach out and touch someone,
you'd better do it in person. Last week the company issued a press
release recommending that people refrain from calling because their
system is inadequate and upgrading it will cost money.
According to a VITELCO spokesperson, the situation is the result
of equipment malfunction: "Basically we have a situation where the doo
dads attached to the doo hickeys are not coagulating with the
thingamabobs. In addition, the whatchamacallits on the whosiewhaty
cannot jive with the knick knack paddy whacks", said the spokesperson.
"We would like to assure the public that we are actively looking
for somebody else to blame this on. We hope to rectify the problem
eventually. In the meantime, tough nookies."
Political observers say they find it interesting that the
situation has persisted for several weeks, yet Senator Alicia "Chucky"
Hansen has not threatened VITELCO with lawsuit the way she did to AT&T.
Hansen took action against AT&T after it was unable to provide long
distance service for 12 hours after hurricane Georges. A Hansen staffer
responded, saying there is no favoritism involved. "If right now the
election was 1 month away, the Senator would sue VITELCO as well."
----------------------------------------------------------------
Sir Shridath Ramphal, Belize's Facilitator in the Belize/Guatemala
Facilitation, is a member of the Board of Directors of Innovative
Communication Corporation, whose directors are:

Jeffrey J. Prosser
Lt. General Samuel E. Ebbesen
Richard N. Goodwin
Michael Prosser
Sir Shridath Ramphal
John P. Raynor
Sir Ronald Michael Sanders

Sources:
http://www.belize-guatemala.gov.bz/press_releases/10_07_2002.html
http://corporate-law.widener.edu/documents/complaints/16415-063.pdf
http://www.iccvi.com/company-board.htm

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