Earlier in the month, the Government of Belize made the final payment for its acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited to the tune of seventy-eight million US dollars. And while the government has honored its end of the CCJ ruling, there is still Sunshine Holdings Limited which is trying to collect what it believes it’s owed. More than ten years ago, the Social Security Board loan Sunshine Holdings $10 million dollars to buy shares in BTL. When GOB took over BTL, it also acquired the shares owned by Sunshine Limited. SO now Sunshine Holdings Limited, is seeking to freeze the payment until it can collect its millions. Yesterday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow explained the position of Sunshine Holdings.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“The argument is that the compensation should have gone to Sunshine not to the shareholders in Sunshine. There would no doubt thereafter been some sort of a pass-through of the benefit of the compensation to the shareholders. Government paid the compensation in fact to the employee’s trust and what Sunshine is saying is that that payment was wrong and so Sunshine is asking that the employees trust to turn over the money to Sunshine, alternatively that at the very least Sunshine- at the very least the employee’s trust if it is to be allowed to get away with the compensation for the government’s acquisition of the shares in BTL originally owned by Sunshine it must at least satisfy the liabilities of Sunshine; which liabilities are the investment loans that Sunshine borrowed in order to purchase the shares in BTL. So that is where that is, the money is already with the employee’s trust but Sunshine I think is trying to freeze the money in the hands of the trust saying ‘put it in an interest paying account. Don’t spend it until the matter can be determined as to whether Sunshine in fact has rights with respect to those monies either so as to satisfy its liabilities to SSB and to GOB or so as to be able to say ‘no those compensation monies should come to us and then we distribute in turn to you who were shareholders at the time we owned the shares and they were acquired.”
It is expected that Sunshine Holdings Limited will file a claim in the Supreme Court of Belize, asking compensation for its shares so it can honor its loan with the SSB.