CCJ makes order on BTL dividends

BTLOn Tuesday morning the Caribbean Court of Justice heard an application by the Government of Belize to discharge a conservatory order it had issued in December 2012 restraining the payment of dividends by Belize Telemedia Ltd The Order was an extension of an earlier order made upon the application of two Lord Ashcroft related parties, Dean Boyce and British Caribbean Bank Ltd. That order had directed GOB to exercise its powers as controlling shareholder of BTL to prevent payment of dividends to GOB, Central Bank of Belize and Social Security Board. On Tuesday by consent of the parties, the CCJ varied the Order to allow fifty percent of the dividends declared by BTL for the financial years ended March 2012 and 2013 to be paid to these shareholders.  Dividends for 2012 had been declared in the sum of $11,889,000.00. Dividends for 2013 had been declared in the sum of $12,388,000.00.  All dividends payable to the small shareholders of BTL were paid in December 2012, as permitted by the CCJ. But over 90% of the dividends, due to GOB, CBB and SSB were held back.  As a result of Tuesday’s order one half of each of the remainder of these years’ dividends may now be paid. Shortly after the announcement was made, the press spoke with Prime Minister Dean Barrow on the ruling.

vlcsnap-2013-10-16-09h21m01s137Prime Minister Barrow: “I gathered that they said that half of the dividends would be released?”

Reporter:   “For two years…I thought it was half for two years.”

Prime Minister Barrow: “My brother spoke to me…quickly…you may well be right but I’m not sure, I’m not sure”…

Reporter:   “It’s $5M a year”.

Prime Minister Barrow: ”the half?”

Reporter:   “Yes”

Prime Minister Barrow:  “Well, you see, the Government is so much rolling in it right now that I haven’t even bothered to keep track of you’ve been losing out on the dividends.”

Reporter:  “Who cares about ten million?”

Prime Minister Barrow:  “ Me no here no there in the larger picture, but, heh, it’s a welcome position taken by the CCJ, especially for SSB and for the Central Bank of Belize.”

That interview was courtesy 7News.

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