John Briceno attacks BTL compensation award

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016. 6:43 p.m. CST

John-BricenoBy Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize has more or less confirmed the final payment to be made to the former owners of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) for the two nationalizations of the company between 2009 and 2011, subject to a final ruling by the Netherlands’ Permanent Court of International Arbitration.

As we reported on Wednesday, the Ashcroft Alliance wanted 10 Belize dollars per share but the Government’s own NERA evaluation put the value of shares at 1 dollar and forty four cents. It has been confirmed that the number now set per share is 5 dollars and 60 cents. The total shares taken over in 2009 from the Ashcroft Group was 45.1 million shares.

According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, about 60 percent of the likely award is attributed to the Accommodation Agreement, and it has been agreed that that portion must be spent on projects to benefit the country and people of Belize.

But Opposition Leader John Briceno does not believe it is a good deal. He said Government was “held over a barrel” and forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been used to better Belize, and that is the true legacy of the nationalizations.

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