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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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from a friend....

Is the following true?

"Things continue to fall apart as unconfirmed but reliable information is that the Port of Belize which is managed by Luke Espat is going into receivership. I was reliably informed that Renaissance Tower has quietly been transferred to the management of Dean Boyce former Director at BTL."


response from another friend.....

True. The Renaissance Tower has been in the Belize Bank's management now for a number of months, while the Port is recent. I understand the Port matter will be taken to court by Espat's lawyers.

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Marty Offline OP
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From The Guardian:

Going into the Port of Belize has become quite the task, as the management of the institution is closely screening who comes into the port to do business. The port is on near lock down after agents for Michael Ashcroft have been attempting to make their way into the compound and the offices of the Port of Belize Limited to present the managers with a letter of receivership.

The first attempt to serve the Port of Belize Limited with a letter of receivership was at around midday on Monday November 21. At the time agents of Lord Michael Ashcroft attempted to step into the property of the Port of Belize to serve the operators with a letter of receivership but they were turned back at the gate by security personnel, who refused them entry. Their attempt did not end there however, as they tried to enter the compound again on Wednesday morning, and again they were barred entry into the compound. Apparently, there has been some directive given to managers at the Port of Belize Limited to not allow anyone into the compound, who represents Michael Ashcroft.

The situation has become testy as the current owner of the Port tries to cling on to one of the few remaining assets, which he had mortgaged with the Belize Bank. Still, the bank is coming for it. He had managed to separate the Port from other assets he had control over such as Crockland and Indeco, which both went into receivership in December of last year. At the time the Port was somehow turned over to a company called Private Investment Limited (PIL) but Luke Espat remained at the helm. The PIL is yet another of Ashcroft's paper companies, which holds great interest in assets not only for Luke Espat but for others, who have borrowed from the Belize Bank.

In March of this year, the Guardian reported on PIL as it had bought over a significant portion of what are called L.E.G. loans, or the Luke Espat Group loans which Luke Espat had taken out with the Belize Bank. At the time, we reported that PIL had taken over companies under the L.E.G. that had cash flows such as the Port of Belize Limited loans and the Renaissance Towers loans. The others, which were non-performing like Crockland, Indeco and others, were left with the Belize Bank.

On August 25th, PIL came for the Renaissance Tower and now, as we had indicated at that time, PIL is coming for the Port of Belize.

PIL is a company owned by Prize Holdings International Limited registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands and from time to time, it has changed directors with the usual Ashcroft soldiers at the helm of it; those being persons like Phil Osborne, Phil Johnson, Dean Boyce, Melquisedeq Flores, Ian Robinson and others all with the common address of 60 Market Square.
While the situation of who will control the Port is a looming one, there is the greater concern by shippers and agents, who wonder if the Port will be closed for business and what impact it will have on business in Belize. Already, the Port had not been serving those, who use it with its optimum capacity. As we had reported earlier, the Port found itself in a sorry state of affairs with much work being needed as a form of rehabilitation and for the port to be able to accommodate the traffic that it once did. Since then, some remedial work was done on the facilities but still not to the satisfaction of shipping agents and users of the port. Now with PIL about to take over the facilities, it is questioned whether or not it will be closed down or will it remain opened as a going concern. One thing is clear, under the management of Luke Espat, it deteriorated significantly and the fees being charged for its use were increased in an astronomic fashion.

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Marty Offline OP
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Will Port Of Belize Fall to Receivers?

Is the Port Of Belize about to fall into receivership - and under the control of the Belize Bank? That's been the buzz all week - but in this case, while rumour abounds, fact has been hard to come by. Today's Guardian reports that agents of the Ashcroft Alliance have twice tried to serve the Private Port's Ownership with a letter of receivership - and that they have twice been resisted, turned back at the gates.

Well, 7news has confirmed that The Luke Espat Group remains in control and possession of the Port of Belize, for the time being at least.

What will happen next is unclear, but it is apparent that he and the Alliance are at daggers drawn. What we do know is that it is the sovereign port and Government has been apprised of the situation. Sources in government tell us that there is a serious dispute and there was an attempt to send inspectors to assess the worthiness of the Port. On the condition of anonymity, one source says there is a standoff - and the ownership maintains that the Port of Belize is not delinquent in its commitments to the bank.

As far as we could determine, at this time, no receiver has been appointed, or activated.

Still, as we said, facts are hard to come by in this one, and the situation - or as the case may be - the standoff, bears close scrutiny because the Port of Belize is considered Belize's sovereign Port and if it were to come under the control of the Ashcroft Alliance, we imagine that would be cause for some concern in government.

Channel 7

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Marty Offline OP
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Bank Versus Port, The Saga Continues

Rumours are strong around the Port Of Belize, that the Belize Bank is readying itself for another attempt at going into the Port to assess the state of things generally.
As has been reported, the bank's emissaries have been resisted in other earlier attempts. But now, 7news has learnt that Arturo Tux Vasquez has been appointed as the point man to go in and make certain investigations on behalf of the bank.

There are even reports that Vasquez has been appointed receiver. But speaking with us this evening, he told us that is news to him, he has not been appointed and he doesn't know about any receiver.

For sure, the situation is very fluid heading into Chrsitmas, and we'll keep a close watch on it.

Channel 7

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Port of Belize not indebted to Belize Bank

For weeks, there has been widespread speculation that the Belize Bank would be moving in to take over the Port of Belize, owned by businessman, Luke Espat. The reports have been greatly detailed, from heated encounters to the naming of a receiver. While on another assignment today, News Five put the question of whether a takeover is in the works, to the Belize Bank Executive Chairman, Lyndon Guiseppi. He dismissed all the reports, saying the bank has no business with the Port of Belize.

Lyndon Guiseppi, Executive Chairman, Belize Bank

"There's no attempt on the bank's part to take over the Port. In fact, the bank is not a lender with the Port; the Port is not a borrower with the bank. So that is speculation, but it is a little more than speculation. It is in fact, incorrect to suggest that the bank is trying to take over the port. The Belize Bank has no loans to the Port of Belize."

Channel 5

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PM Speaks On Port Of Belize

And moving now from the public Port Authority to the private Port of Belize, two related but completely distinct entities�the news tonight about the Port of Belize is that the Prime Minister is keeping a close eye on things.

The PM says he's been in touch with the Ashcroft Allied lending group - which has commercial banking arrangements with the Port - but apart from hoping for a soft landing, there's not too much he can do:..

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Well we have an interest in what happens at the port generally and when the first rumblings appeared I spoke to both Mr. Espat the current owner and Mr. Guiseppi who is the chairman of the Belize Bank group. I was concerned that nothing be done to disrupt the port activities certainly over Christmas and early into the New Year. Now I've also indicated to Mr. Guiseppi that if a time comes when they have to exercise their commercial rights Government certainly can't interfere with that. The loan arrangements are such that certain events can trigger the appointment of the receiver, there is no way on earth that government will seek to interfere to prevent that but, if it comes to that I said to Mr. Guiseppi, I would imagine that before you move you would get in touch with the union that represents the port workers and you would let government know, you will take the sorts of steps that can minimize the degree of disruption that a transition will inevitably cause."

"Short answer to your question, we are very concern, we are holding a keen watching brief, but I don't expect anything to happen until the Christmas season has past and thereafter if something does happen I imagine that we will be given the kind of notice that allow us again to consider our options, such as they are given that ultimately it is a private contractual and banking relationship."

In a letter to this newsroom earlier this week, the Port has bristled at our suggestion that some kind of invasive action by the bank is imminent, but, as indicated by the Prime Minister, it may be somewhat of an inevitability, unless some last ditch alternate arrangement can be worked out.

Channel 7

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