Monday, September 14, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: The terms of a settlement with Dunkeld International Investment Limited, the primary holder of interest in Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) through various companies, as well as the BTL Employees Trust led by former chairman Dean Boyce and British Caribbean Bank Limited concerning the two acquisitions of the company by Government in 2009 and 2011 were announced today by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and BTL chair Nestor Vasquez.
The recent settlement with Fortis International over Belize Electricity Limited was fairly straightforward, but this one, after six years of legal challenges, is far more complicated.
Per the Government’s press release this evening, in short, it will pay the Bank’s US$22.5 million mortgage loan to BTL, now risen to US$48,544,927.78 or BZ$97 million, found in the London Court of International Arbitration’s decision in December of 2014.
For Dunkeld’s 71% share holding, GOB pays a partial payment of US$0.72 per share for 34,107,117 shares valued at US$24,557.12, and for the Trust’s 23% holding, US$0.72 per share for 11,092, 844 for a total value of US7,986,848. The final award amount is to be determined by the Arbitration Tribunal and then Government pays whatever else it is owed over a determined period of time less payments already made.
The financing comes from monies held on deposit arising from the sale of BTL shares in 2010.
Financing for the settlement with the British Caribbean Bank will come from dividends and contribution due from BTL; from the sale of additional Treasury Notes; and from PetroCaribe funds.
Today’s settlement, the release states, represents further vindication of the Government’s initiative to acquire majority interest in BTL and BEL in order to provide reliable, affordable and improved public utility services to the people of Belize.
The Prime Minister staunchly defended his course of action, insisting that Belize had benefited from the acquisitions.
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