BTL executive committee chairman Anwar Barrow says that the company has plans to appeal the recent decision against them and Mek Mi Rich Productions, owner of the game show of the same name, in the Supreme Court. Businessman Curtis Swasey alleged that BTL conspired with MMR to sell his idea for a lottery texting program; both companies deny the allegations. Justice Courtney Abel found in Swasey’s favour, awarding him 25 thousand dollars in damages. But Barrow, who told us that he was not at BTL when negotiations were taking place with either MMR or Swasey, and had only joined the board after BTL and MMR agreed to move forward, says his investigations, which began after the judgment, reveal that there was nothing “shady” – the word used in the court judgment – about BTL’s dealings with either entity:
“I have never met mister Swasey. I was not here when the deal was made MMR who are with Mr. Swasey personally wasn’t even on the board of BTL when those negotiation started. So I don’t have any direct knowledge per say, but since the judgment came out I have looked into the matter because it is of concern to me as the person leading the company. What happened back then. And as you say I have to be careful about the detail that I give because the matter is being appealed and it’s still in court. But I will say a few things. One is that BTL never indicated to Mr. Swasey that we were not going to launch his game. What the correspondent said that we were not able to launch the game in that physical year. My understanding is that both MMR and Mr. Swasey were developing these games and were proposing to launch it on the company’s network. MMR was a lot further along in terms of their development technically in terms of what they had and as far as our resource availability, we have to make a decision as to which one we can go with in that particular year.”
BTL also continues to contend that Swasey’s idea was not uniquely his; here’s how Barrow explained it.
“I don’t know the specific as far as what each vender propose, but I do know that the issue of texting in or doing sweep stick or lotteries or prizes by text is one that is well know throught out the world, it’s not anything that’s new, that Mr. Swasey created or MMR created or who ever, something that’s been out there for quite a while, so it’s not a technology that is preparatory to Mr. Swasey. And I think therein lies the rub. My understanding is that he is alleging that BTL got this information from him and passed it on to MMR as if it is ome secret information and then MMR took it and launched a game. MMR has been in talks with BTL just as Mr. Swasey had for years, about doing this type of game. It just so happens that further along they had outside international expertise helping them so they had a good idea of to do and I think that was to their benefit. But there was no need, it’s what I’m saying, for BTL to take any information from anyone of the venders and share it with the other.”
But regardless of the outcome of the case, Barrow told us that BTL will continue to do business with entrepreneurs willing to join their platform:
“We want entrepreneurs to come, we want to support them. Right now I will say that we’re going through entire technological refresh as far as our systems. You heard about us doing the mobile network, but there are other things, other systems that we are also revamping to bring the entire company up technologically to be one of the most competitive in the region. So there’s a lot of back ground systems like the building systems and so on and so forth that we’re also replacing. So for this year and for next year, we won’t be entertaining much third party development, because we can’t develop with a partner connecting to a system that we’re going to replace in three or four months. It’s too much work, and it just doesn’t sink up. But like I said we’re totally open to that once we get through this technological refresh we’re going to open it back up again and we’re going to encourage people to come.”
Swasey is represented by Kareem Musa, while BTL is represented by Magali Perdomo and MMR by Naima Barrow.