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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Those of our sources who are acquainted with Lord Ashcroft fully expected him to fly into Belize for Sir Barry Bowen's funeral a couple weeks ago. Such a huge event would have been an opportunity for the Lord to "show himself," so to speak. But Mr. Ashcroft has been very quiet and very much under the radar for some while now. His problem is in Great Britain, where things political have been unraveling for the Lord. One of the reasons things political have been unraveling in Britain for the Lord is because of the Internet and because of Belize, two of the same instruments through which he has enriched himself.

Great Britain used to be a long, long way from Belize. I remember when my dad went to take a course in postal matters in London in the late 1950s. He first had to fly to New York City, then take the Queen Elizabeth across the Atlantic. The liner would take three days from New York to Plymouth. Two decades later came the supersonic jetliner called Concorde, which would make the trip in six or seven hours across the Atlantic. But the Concorde was too expensive, and I believe it has been shelved.

Today, because of modern telecommunications and the Internet, London and Belize City are just seconds and minutes apart from each other where information is concerned. Information about Lord Ashcroft's doings has been feeding back into Britain from Belize, and the great benefactor of the Conservative Party has now become a large political liability for the Tories. Just months ago, the Conservatives were enjoying a lead of twenty percentage points in the polls over Gordon Brown's Labour, but now the race has become very close, almost even in fact. The issue that got Labour back into the running was Lord Ashcroft.

One of the secrets to Lord Ashcroft's rise to riches is that he does not pay taxes. His empire is all about lawyers and accountants who find ways for him to avoid the taxes which he should be paying. Yes, the Lord is a self-made billionaire, and yes, we have to give him respect for that. But you have to understand something about the British people. They don't like cheats. The British have a national sense of honor, despite Sir John Falstaff's famous words. Labour has succeeded in making Ashcroft look like a tax cheat, and the result is that all the marginal constituencies where Ashcroft's money had been pushing Conservative candidates over the top, have seen a Labour surge. The issue, to repeat, has become Lord Michael Ashcroft.

There's stuff that's happened in the Turks and Caicos Islands which is showing the Lord in an unfavorable light, but the issues involving him in Belize are far bigger, and those issues in Belize have been raging for years now. They include the cruel rates at BTL when he ran it as a monopoly, the "accommodation agreements" with the Musa government, and the tax hostilities between Ashcroft and the new Barrow administration which provoked the Prime Minister into nationalizing BTL in August of last year.

You know, it's taken me a while, but I think I've figured out Chichester's psyche where Belize is concerned. He came here as a little boy when his father, a British civil servant, was posted to British Honduras. This would have been the late 1950s or so. I believe Lord Ashcroft attended St. Catherine's Elementary for the couple years he was in British Honduras.

Michael Ashcroft was an absolute nobody in Belize when he was a child. In those days, St. Catherine's Elementary was really, really elitist. The thing is, there's a price you pay for elitism. Students in the mainstream schools like St. Mary's, Holy Redeemer, and Wesley totally ignored St. Catherine's Elementary. St. Catherine's Elementary did not produce any athletes, any musicians, or any entertainers. Who were these people? It was as if they didn't even exist. So that, when Michael Ashcroft returned to Belize with all his money in 1985, this was a man who wanted to "show himself." Baby, look at me now!

Showing himself in Belize could well cost Chichester the elections in Britain, which will be called in the next few weeks. Lord Ashcroft has behaved like a bully in Belize, and the news doesn't take months to travel from Belize to Britain any more. In the global village, it's just seconds and minutes. Lord Ashcroft is looking like a "wannabe" in Britain. His behaviour in Belize has lacked class, and his own people found out about it across the Atlantic. The British do not care for cads. Watch, and you will see.

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 153
Having been in Belize only five years,I do not feel qualified to get involved in the debate for or against Mr Ashcroft's activities here.
Nor do I wish to defend his activities generally in the UK. However a couple of points should be made about what has happened in the UK. Mr Ashcroft, who is chairman of the Conservative Party, is a very wealthy business man who has used the laws in the UK to further his position. So far there is no evidence that he has broken any British law, nor that he has failed to pay taxes legally due. From a UK perspective therefore, he is NOT a cheat.
He pays tax on his UK income, but not on his overeas earnings which is perfectly legal as a Non-Domiciled Citizen.
Where the problem has arisen is that there appears to have been
an agreement whereby he would agree to become permanently resident in the UK as a condition of his elevation to the House of Lords. Being a permanent resident would mean that overseas income as well as domestic income would be subject to UK tax. At some point the terms of this agreement, specifically the word "permanent" was re defined by someone to "long-term". This change would allow him to remain a Non-dom as they are called.
The controversy which has raged between the political parties centres on who made the change in definition?, on whose authority?, when? and who knew about this? and when did they know?
It's a big controversy because both the leader and deputy leader of the Conservative party (the latter being a frequent flier on Mr Ashcrofts private jet) are personally involved.
Their integrity is at stake, as both have given detailed accounts of what they knew and didn't know which are now being called into question,hence the drop in their poll popularity.
The question boils down to were they stupid, naive or were they lying?
Mr Ashcroft meanwhile has kept quiet, having made the disclosure required by the Freedom of Information Act and has declined to discuss his personal affairs further which under present law he is entitled to do.
Marty is quite right. British people do not like cheats, whether they have handballed a football as Diego Maradona and more recently Thierry Henri did, or whether they have lied, cheated on their wives or failed to pay tax.
However British people also are known for their sense of fair play. In the Ashcroft affair, that's all I ask.

Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,160
Cheating rass, hand of God.....

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