The Government of Belize issued a press release on Wednesday claiming that the recently nationalized Belize Telemedia Limited is not in default of its loan obligations. The release was sent as a response to an article in The Reporter on Wednesday claiming that BTL was default on a loan for forty-five million dollars from Belize Bank. Government’s release claimed that “the mortgage debenture securing the loan was expressly acquired from the Bank by the Government of Belize. Legally, then, BTL owes no loan to the Belize Bank and cannot default on what it doesn’t own.” Well that did not stop British Caribbean Bank – formerly Belize Bank (Turks & Caicos) Limited, based in the Turks and Caicos Islands – from filing a claim against BTL in the Supreme Court today for payment of that loan. News Five has learned that the Bank is claiming from BTL over fifty million dollars which includes almost two million dollars in accrued interest. News Five has also learned that British Caribbean Bank has filed a similar claim against Sunshine Holdings Limited for the over eight million dollars owed by that company to the Bank. Sunshine Holdings Limited was previously owned by the BTL Employees Trust, but was nationalized at the same time as BTL. Sunshine’s current Chairman is Nestor Vasquez. Anwar Barrow, Alan Slusher and former prime minister, Manuel Esquivel, also sit on the Board of Directors. If these Government-owned entities fail to pay, the question is who will foot the fifty-eight million dollar bill? Efforts to reach Nestor Vasquez for comment were unsuccessful.

Channel 5