In June of this year, the Court of Appeal allowed media personality Glenn Tillett’s case against Lois Young, Nestor Vasquez and the Social Security Board (SSB) was freed to continue at the Supreme Court by disallowing an objection to a ruling at the lower court. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin heard the substantive matter which has to do with decisions taken by the Investment Committee of the Board and later by the Board itself in 2010 which paved the way for Government, months after it acquired Belize Telemedia Limited (B.T.L.) for the first time, to sell shares of 44.54% to SSB for 50 million dollars. We spoke with Glenn Tillett after the case concluded Wednesday afternoon.
“For me, the point of contention is that they as the people, they are the person there, they not have the legal authority to make the decision. The fact that the Investment Committee and the Board of Directors they has word the casting vote; I think points for that. To my mind, Ms. Young, Barrow and Mr. Vazquez were in a position of a conflict of interest seeing as how the world vote, employed, associated with BTL and at the same time were in a position in authority, namely one as the Chairman of the Investment Board and the other as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Social Security”.
In the afternoon session, Dr. Lloyd Barnett, who appeared for Nestor Vasquez and Lois Young, said that SSB needed to diversify its investments and saw an investment in B.T.L. as a prudent decision. Neither Nestor Vasquez nor Lois Young, he said, gained anything personally from the sale. But according to Glenn Tillett, that doesn’t matter. He tells us why.
“Essentially, if you believe the decision to invest in BTL was the right decision. It was made by the wrong people. Whether the investment is a good investment or not, the sailing point is that this decision should not have been made by people who have invested into a steam board who have a purchase from Anderson”.
Finally, we asked Glenn Tillett whether, if the court rules his way and finds the conflict of interest he proposes, there would be “a chaotic situation” as described by Dr. Barnett in court. He charges that it would be difficult to reverse the transaction which would cause financial loss to the Board and its contributors, the people of Belize. Mr Tillett says, not so.
“It is only my opinion, but the short answer is NO. The money was in escort and is still being held in escort”.
Lois Young and Nestor Vasquez, represented by Dr. Barnett and Nigel Ebanks of Barrow and Williams, were at court in person. Senior Counsels Andrew Marshalleck and Godfrey Smith appeared for Glenn Tillett and Agnes Segura-Gillett appeared for the Social Security Board. Chief Justice Benjamin has reserved his ruling.