As it relates to Belize Telemedia Limited, the teachers reminded the PUP government of the disgraced Nestor Vasquez, the former chairman of BTL. Vasquez spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of the company’s credit card on personal items between 2016 and 2020. The total sum that he spent is reported to be more than eight hundred thousand dollars and members of the public are demanding that Vasquez be criminally charged. That is yet to happen, and it probably might never happen. Today teachers were calling Vasquez’s name, demanding that he pay back all the BTL money he spent.
Norlan Galvez, President, BNTU Belmopan: “Net Vasquez bring back the Victoria Secret money. Net Vasquez bring back the Victoria Secret Money. Digicell pay your tax. Say no to corruption !”
Reporter: Ms.Vasquez why have the teachers come to out today and chosen to picket in front of the Digi office in Belmopan ?
Norlan Galvez, President, BNTU Belmopan: “Because they’re not paying their tax and then I am paying my tax, we are paying our tax because it comes out automatically out of our pay. So if we could pay that are scraping they must could pay where the money is coming pouring in from people like me that pay our Digicell bill.”
Reporter: I hear you guys are chanting “Net Vasquez pay your taxes.” What is the significance of this chant ?
Norlan Galvez, President, BNTU Belmopan: “We’re not telling him to pay his tax we are telling him to pay back the money that he spent from the credit card where he went to buy Victoria Secret panties and braziers that is what we are telling him because we take our time when we’re buying, he spends it hand over fist, he spends our tax money hand over fist.”
Norlan Galvez, President, BNTU Belmopan: “These are the people and they are still comfortable because they are spending my hard earned tax money. You know you have time to be buying Victoria Secret meanwhile teachers we are buying our Melchor one ? You have time to be taking big trips when as teachers from Sunday to Sunday you know police men long hours, hitchhiking on the highway to try to reach home to their families meanwhile you are there living lavishly with somebody else’s belongings. You know those things don’t boil the blood it crawls it and it makes you get very very upset because this is my country, this is our country.”
Reporter: Is it that nowadays politicians don’t understand the poor people ?
Norlan Galvez, President, BNTU Belmopan: “They don’t want to understand. The only thing they understand about the poor people is that we are foolish enough to listen to their crap and put them in position then they give us a kick, a hard one, that is what politicians from the both sides that is what they do to us.”
Meanwhile today, during a press conference, BTL’s Chairman Markhelm Lizarraga was a bit more circumspect in his comments, but did manage to explain that Vasquez has made efforts to repay some of the money.
Markhelm Lizarraga, Chairman, BTL Board: “I can say Mr.Vasquez has paid back roughly half – a little less than half and he’s challenging some of the other charges but this matter is before the courts and BTL is taking full recovery.”
Reporter: Can you say specifically what portion of the money still is owed and what is he contesting ?
Markhelm Lizarraga, Chairman, BTL Board: “No I can’t at this time, that’s a matter before the courts. I’m not intimately familiar with it to be honest with you it’s something that they attorneys are dealing with and that will take its course.”
With hundreds of thousands of dollars being charged to the BTL credit card under Net Vasquez, the question remains, how is it that the Finance Department failed to see the red flags. When pressed further about why the company’s finance department did not question the transactions, the Chairman preferred not to speak on the matter since it is before the court.
Markhelm Lizarraga, Chairman, BTL Board: “That is a matter before the courts and I would prefer not to discuss the intimate details of the case because as you can appreciate.”