Belize Telemedia Limited currently owes nineteen million dollars in dividends to the Government of Belize. They are operating in overdraft and has lost its competitive edge. With all that declared by the recently appointed Chairman, the question now is how did Nestor Vasquez, the former Chairman get to spend one million dollars from BTL for his personal lifestyle? We can’t guarantee that we will have an answer for you anytime soon as we found out today that the new BTL Board is mostly interested in recovering the money from Vasquez. Love News learnt that a letter of intent has been sent to Vasquez and that it has been agreed that the money will be repaid. Interestingly, what we have also learnt is that a criminal investigation may not be forthcoming.
Senator Mark Lizarraga, Chairman, Board of Directors, Belize Telemedia Limited: “I’m aware of the matter. It is a matter that’s in the hands of attorneys. I understand that we have a commitment that the monies will be repaid and it’s just the transaction details that are being requested for verification of amounts I guess and we’re sending over all the bank statements etcetera which we have records for but I understand that a commitment has been made to repay. I wouldn’t want to say more on that at this time because it could be a legal issue before us. I want to assure the Belizean people that this new board will pursue every avenue it has at its disposal to recover any monies that were not properly appropriated on BTL’s behalf.”
Reporter: Now Senator as a follow up is that basically the aim to recover monies or is it also to persecute wrongdoing?
Senator Mark Lizarraga, Chairman, Board of Directors, Belize Telemedia Limited: “I certainly hear the cry of the people and I think this is a process that’s going to take its course. I wish I could tell you more about it, the meetings I’ve had that this matter has come up to be honest with you primarily focused on recovery. At some stage I guess we’re going to have to get guidance and counsel as to whether there were in fact breach of laws as well. So I think that’s a different matter. Right now the primary goals is for us to get recovery and to get recovery as soon as possible. But please realize I’m just in this post for a few days and there are a lot of other issues that are in front of us, serious that are in front of us when it comes to the management and the performance of BTL. So the good news is that this was not an expense, it was booked as an asset and it appears that we have an agreement for it to be repaid that’s the good news.”
As for the contract for an estimated three hundred thousand dollars to Channel Seven, Chairman Lizarraga says that has since been cancelled.
Senator Mark Lizarraga, Chairman, Board of Directors, Belize Telemedia Limited: “I believe that we have cancelled that commitment and I believe we have a commitment from Channel 7 to repay that thing. You’ll have to forgive me because I haven’t delved- I just wanted to have a peripheral look of everything. I can’t be an expert in everything that’s happening at BTL at this stage so what I tried to do was in the first few days was just take a look at the burning issues and since we have those things already on a path to resolution I’ve not focused on those.”
Love News spoke with Channel 7’s News Director Jules Vasquez yesterday who noted that a statement will be issued by the company later this week and that he would be open for an interview. We will keep you posted.