Belize City, September 30, 2015
Like a pig wearing bright red lipstick, Prime Minister Dean Barrow has tried to paint a pretty picture of his secret travels, private meetings and dreadful deals with the man he once called the devil.
In an attempt to quell a wildfire against his administration, the lip-glossed pig rushed to meet with the workers of BTL on Wednesday September 30th
afternoon, after the employees’ union issued a stinging release indicating their “disgust” with the Prime Minister and his arbitrary actions and decisions over BTL.
The Belize Communications Workers’ Union were incensed that six years after he snatched away Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) from its previous owners, on the basis that his Government and the people of Belize could not afford a prolonged legal battle, Barrow returned to Ashcroft, cap in hand, to settle the dispute and agreed to outrageous terms that will see the Government, the company and taxpayers pay hundreds of millions more than it would have had the dispute been settled six years ago.
The BCWU’s release stated: “…Barrow Administration has done worse by saddling all Belizeans, from the cradle to those on their way to their graves, with a whopping $162 million plus of Belizean sweat dollars to the national debt, a figure that represents more than 15% of the national debt, and that is not the final figure due to Ashcroft!!! This money will come from dividends due shareholders, Social Security contributions, and the hard earned dollars of BTL’s customers. All this was done in secrecy to make Mr Ashcroft happy and a bunch of lawyers millions of dollars richer while we the taxpayers of Belize and workers of BTL must now carry this increased debt burden with us every day. This is a slap in the face of all Belizeans!!!”
The Union also blasted the Prime Minister’s cosseted son, Anwar Barrow, who was handpicked to head BTL’s Board shortly after Barrow became Prime Minister. Apparently, Barrow had met with the BCWU before the Prime Minister made his grand announcement, but the boy Barrow “was not brave enough tell the union that Daddy was calling a press conference less than two hours later to announce that the government had arrived at a settlement with the Lord himself”
For six years, BTL has been Barrow’s prized political possession. He got away with pretending the takeover was a bold patriotic move. The devil had been defeated, claimed Barrow. But it has turned out to be nothing but a calculated political gimmick, and a deliberate move his family in strategic financial positions. Barrow announced that his son would become a Board Director, and later Chairman, while his ex-wife was legal advisor. BTL had become Barrow’s Telemedia Limited.
Nationalisation was supposed to mean that employees and consumers would benefit. But the result has been the contrary, according to the BCWU. They claimed, in their release, that they have been disrespected over and over by the Prime Minister’s pawns.
“…the BCWU has been a silent pillar of support, convinced that the Prime Minister’s decision to nationalize the company was for the greater good of Belize and the BTL employees. …the nationalization was all a charade and we believe that the Prime Minister knew eons ago this is how it would have ended. Do we really believe now that the Prime Minister could have humiliated Mr Ashcroft and win, much less get away with it. Is campaign money moving behind this settlement? All the substance of these “secret negotiations”, including campaign money must be disclosed. The people also need to know what else Ashcroft will get as a part of the settlement when Barrow wins his third term. You have taken us for fools Mr PM and we are disgusted”
Prime Minister Barrow and the boy Barrow have responded to the BCWU’s release, calling it “outrageously derogatory”
and “absolutely reprehensible”
And, like children facing punishment, on Wednesday the employees of BTL were made to sit in silence as the chief pig grunted away in a meeting set up by the Board, claiming that his secret meetings with Aschroft and decision to pay him $162 million as initial payment in an unresolved settlement, was all in the best interest of the country.
The BTL workers have had enough of Dean Barrow and his deceit. Their message after meeting was da fool di talk, but da no fool di listen.