Lois Young Parting Shot on the Kremandala Show (20th
By Lois Young
By 2001 the Government of Belize had facilitated 52% of the
55% of the shares the government owned in BTL to Michael
Ashcroft and his companies.
For the bulk of the shares, the price was artificially
fixed when a fake offer to purchase at $2.30 per share was
circulated to all shareholders. A few weeks later the
Government sold to Ashcroft at $2.31.
The Government gave up some $6 million in dividends and the
dividends earned by Ashcroft attracted no tax.
I was furious about this. I attended a private Christmas
gathering shortly after this sale and I told the Prime
Minister, who was also at the gathering, that this sale was
wrong, wrong, wrong and bad for the people of Belize .
In December 2003 the Government purchased back 52% of the
shares from Michael Ashcroft. This was the Governmentís
opportunity to hold on to the BTL shares. A second chance
that we seldom have, or so I thought. But not so. The
Government decided to sell this 52% to Jeffrey Prosser for
a promissory note. No cash. And in breach of the BTLís
constitution. This was undoubtedly pre-arranged between the
Government and the Ashcroft group, designed to ultimately
present Ashcroft BTL lock stock & barrel.
I say this because even before the Government sold to
Prosser, it had signed an agreement with the Ashcroft
Group, promising Ashcroft that, in return for Ashcroft
selling Government his shares, the Government would sell
all of the Governmentís shares and the SSB and the DFC, the
Central Bank Pension Scheme shares and the Special Share,
to one selected person - Jeffrey Prosser.
In addition, this Government agreed with Ashcroft that if
Prosser did not pay, the Government would sell the shares
back to Ashcroft.
And that is exactly what happened. Government bought from
Ashcroft at a certain price, and when Prosser did not pay
for all of the shares, this Government turned around and
sold to Ashcroft at a lower price.
I repeat, it was all a set up designed to deliver BTL, lock
stock and barrel to Michael Ashcroft. And it violates BTLís
articles of association.
BTL was intended to be owned by Belizeans, by the tens of
thousands. The plan was, as conceptualized and by Manuel
Esquivel and Nestor Vasquez, in March 1988 for the
Government to gradually divest itself of controlling
shares, incrementally, in amounts that people could absorb,
and to keep the Special Share. The Special Share carries
the right to have 2 Directors on the BTL board.
Telecommunications is the life blood of any economy. The
Special Share was designed to be the Governmentís way of
protecting our national security and Belizean shareholders.
BTL uses a substantial spectrum of frequencies that the
country of Belize has for its own national security. By
giving away the Special Share the Government has given up
its ability to always input how BTL uses that resource.
This present Government is bad for Belize . In May 2007
this Government passed the Vesting Act which, basically,
gave Michael Ashcroft BTL. The Government is hell bent on
shackling Belizeans into economic slavery. Instead of
Belizeans owning the wealth generated by
telecommunications, this Government has facilitated a
foreigner in taking it away from us.
And now this Government is doing the same thing with St.
Francis Xavier Credit Union. It has legislated so that a
Government appointee, namely the Governor of the Central
Bank, can take over the credit union. No responsible, good
thinking educated government should use its legislative
power for personal motives.
Business people of Belize , I have said it before: today
Jeffrey Prosser and St. Francis Xavier, tomorrow you and
me. Itís as simple as that.