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December 10, 2020

Marconi Leal Jr.’s many hats

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Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2020. 9:27 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Unknown to many, Marconi Leal, Jr., began 2020 as an acting Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL). He ends it as a company director, not to mention Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Public Utilities.

One of his duties in the former post was to sign on behalf of the company a contract with former chairman Net Vasquez, for provision of advertising to Tropical Vision Limited (Channel 7) by BTL in service of a debt owed to the former by the latter, or more specifically, by Vasquez.

The decision to raise Leal also raises several questions. Does he have a conflict of interest as co-signatory despite the company rescinding the Channel 7 deal? Will he tell what he knows in a special audit and investigation? Should the man in charge of all utility industries be so intimately involved in one of them?

Chairman Mark Lizarraga admitted he was not aware of the Leal signing; the company later issued a statement acknowledging that Leal was doing his job, nothing more, nothing less.

As for the composition of the new board – which features several prominent supporters of the Government and includes a Minister’s wife, another Minister’s son and yet another Minister’s son-in-law, Lizarraga said they are not there for their political support or famous names, but for their collective experience: “I was very concerned about the composition of a board and I wanted the board members, I suggested that the board members have experience in the field, legal experience, business acumen and I must say that I think the board is well-balanced. We have with us C.E.O. Marconi Leal, of course, who has experience in the company and we have C.E.O. Urbina, who as well has a lot of experience in the telecom industry. We have a young businessman and entrepreneur, Jermie Usher. We have a senior counsel, Denise Courtenay, who has over twenty years’ experience in commercial and banking and company law. We have Michael Bowen who’s the director and C.E.O. of the Bowen Group of Companies. So I think we have a very hardy board.”

Asked whether Leal’s position would be reviewed, Lizarraga appeared more eager to focus on the link he provides with the Ministry: “…there are many people in government that may have been put into positions where they had to do things and I think that for us to be fair, we have to look at the sequence of events, how things were done and why. And I prefer to leave it like that. But I’m happy to see CEO Leal on our board from the standpoint that he is the CEO now for public utilities so it gives us that direct connect for our minister and our ministry because we need to work together with them as well going forward and CEO Leal has a lot of industry experience as well so he brings that experience to the board which is a plus, I believe.”

 

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