A release issued by the Government of Belize (GOB) last week
announced that Justice Christopher Blackman has dismissed a case brought by
Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) against the GOB and International
Telecommunications Limited (Intelco). In April, Justice Blackman granted BTL
permission to seek judicial review of the telecommunications services contracts
awarded to Intelco by the government. BTL was asking the court to declare the
contracts null and void.
In its application,
BTL informed Justice Blackman that their first knowledge of the Intelco
contracts was through "rumors" heard in January 2001. According to BTL, these
rumors were not confirmed until months later in a letter from government.
On the 2nd of September 2002, Intelco applied to the court to become a party to the
action and to be a part of the case; this was granted. When the case was heard
again, Intelco provided documents which revealed to the court that BTL, contrary
to their statement, had in fact entered into negotiations to buy the contracts
awarded to Intelco. As a matter of public record, Intelco also reminded the
court that the Prime Minister had announced the issuance of these contracts in
his 2001 Budget Speech.
In light of these revelations
Justice Blackman found that BTL was guilty of failing to make full disclosure to
the court. Since the former telecommunication's monopoly was also declared
guilty of "undue delay" in making its application, the case was subsequently
According to the Public Utilities
Commission, Intelco recently applied for their license to be a
telecommunications provider in Belize. If approved, they may commence operations
in the country as soon as December 30, 2002.