Letters — 06 November 2005

While the Government?s decision to register the shares in the name of Sunshine Holdings may appear quite laudable to you, the employees of BTL consider it a very disingenuous attempt to deceive the workers of BTL and the public at large into believing that ?this is the best deal? the workers of BTL could have gotten without taking any risk. Anyone who studies this deal and the Government?s history of deception will know that:


? The only one who got the best deal was Michael Ashcroft, because there is no risk to the Sunshine principals for the loans made to them, since both the Central Government and Social Security Board loans are unsecured and the $20 million from the Belize Bank is secured with the value of the shares that are twice that of the $20 million loan which Ashcroft made to one of his own companies.


? This is no opportunity for the BTL workers, since anyone who looks at the Government?s business dealings with the workers and unions of this country will not uncover any situation where the government provided a genuine opportunity for re-distribution of the wealth of this country among the working class; hence, there is no cogent argument to support the claim that after fifteen years the workers would enjoy ownership of the shares and control of the trust; and, To refresh your memory, I will now quote from the ?Irrevocable Memorandum Agreement? between BTL Workers Trust Ltd. and the Government of Belize (GOB) wherein you stated as follows:


? ?GOB has determined that BTL has demonstrated that the Belizean management personnel and workers are most able and competent to manage, operate and develop the Trust in a manner which maximizes profitability, efficiency and expansion whilst taking into account the development policies and objectives of the Government in the national interest of promoting telecommunication and its accessibility to the general public both in the urban and rural areas?



? ?The TRUST (BTL Workers Trust) was promoted and formed for and on behalf of the BTL management and workers and other Belizeans, especially other union and workers, to invest in the Company, and GOB is satisfied that through this corporate vehicle the objective of attaining national management for the benefit of the general public and all shareholders can and will be achieved?


? ?GOB agrees that this agreement is on the undertaking and assurance on the part of GOB that the TRUST shares shall represent a minimum of 37% of the total issued shareholding of BTL as at the time of the transfer of the shares.?


? ?Now in consideration of the premises and forgoing objectives GOB does by this


? MEMORANDUM HEREBY AGREE, IRREVOCABLY AND GURANTEE unto BTL WORKERS TRUST LTD as follows:


GOB shall sell assign and transfer to the Trust the following shares:


(a) 3,520,000 ?B? shares


(b)10,292,173 ?C? shares?



The above excerpts are taken from the Government?s draft of the Irrevocable Memorandum Agreement.


You may recall also that we offered to pay GOB for all the shares they would sell the workers. We never asked for anything free. In fact both sides had agreed that the workers would pledge the shares to GOB as security for the SSB loans and the Government loan. It is now obvious that you and your ministers never brought any good faith to the negotiating table. The record shows that the only person who got everything free in this transaction is Michael Ashcroft, because Sunshine Holdings never paid a penny for the $20 million dollar worth of shares you gave to them; neither did you get any security for the loans. I hope you realize the magnitude of the blunder you have made.


If we Belizeans were to own BTL we would manage it better than Michael Ashcroft, pay for the shares in a shorter period of time and pay taxes on our dividends, which is something that Ashcroft never does.


The Union reiterates once more its position that the 20% shares be made available to the workers of BTL and the people of Belize by the way of the Worker Trust set up by the workers/Union.


Since it would have come to your attention by now that Sunshine Holdings and its purported ?Trust? company did not receive the participation consent from the majority of the BTL staff that it had hoped for, the Government should move to undo the sale immediately and re-engage the BCWU in good faith negotiations on this matter. The BCWU is still prepared to take up the Government on its commitment to the workers earlier this year that if the Union were to obtain financing, then the GOB would sell them the shares. GOB had also committed to allowing the Union full self-determination in all matters pertaining to a Trust company set up by the workers of BTL. Anything less, is totally unsatisfactory. In our negotiations Godfrey Smith assured us in writing that the loan for the shares would be made to the BTL workers and that the shares would be sold to the workers as well.


We hold the Government of Belize to the commitments it made to us earlier this year and we note for the record that any ?Trust? that does not and will not allow the fullest participation of the rank and file workers of BTL, cannot be a genuine employee Trust.


Kindly find enclosed, signatures from the workers of BTL, which represent over 87% of the workforce, that have rejected the so called Trust of Sunshine Holdings Ltd. to own the 20% of the shares of BTL. The workers have also attested that the only true entity representing them on this matter is the BCWU. They have further confirmed that they have not indicated in writing or otherwise to any of the Directors of Sunshine Holdings, that they are participating in the Sunshine?s Belize Telecommunications Limited Employees Trust, and that this so called Trust does not truly represent the economic interest of the workers in the 20% shares of BTL.


If your Government really has the working masses of this country at heart, we would then advise that there is still time to save face in this matter if GOB so desires. Live to your commitment, Mr. Prime Minister: make the shares directly available to the BCWU. It is high time that all duplicitous behaviour of this Government come to an end. The BCWU shall not waver or falter in its pursuit of the shares on behalf of the workers and people of Belize. Ashcroft and his affiliates cannot own or control more than 25% of BTL and we intend to fight this point no matter how long it takes.


We look forward to your early response.



Faithfully,


(Signed) Paul Perriott


President BCWU


BCWU

Related Articles

Share

About Author

(0) Readers Comments

Comments are closed.

Letters — 06 November 2005

While the Government?s decision to register the shares in the name of Sunshine Holdings may appear quite laudable to you, the employees of BTL consider it a very disingenuous attempt to deceive the workers of BTL and the public at large into believing that ?this is the best deal? the workers of BTL could have gotten without taking any risk. Anyone who studies this deal and the Government?s history of deception will know that:


? The only one who got the best deal was Michael Ashcroft, because there is no risk to the Sunshine principals for the loans made to them, since both the Central Government and Social Security Board loans are unsecured and the $20 million from the Belize Bank is secured with the value of the shares that are twice that of the $20 million loan which Ashcroft made to one of his own companies.


? This is no opportunity for the BTL workers, since anyone who looks at the Government?s business dealings with the workers and unions of this country will not uncover any situation where the government provided a genuine opportunity for re-distribution of the wealth of this country among the working class; hence, there is no cogent argument to support the claim that after fifteen years the workers would enjoy ownership of the shares and control of the trust; and, To refresh your memory, I will now quote from the ?Irrevocable Memorandum Agreement? between BTL Workers Trust Ltd. and the Government of Belize (GOB) wherein you stated as follows:


? ?GOB has determined that BTL has demonstrated that the Belizean management personnel and workers are most able and competent to manage, operate and develop the Trust in a manner which maximizes profitability, efficiency and expansion whilst taking into account the development policies and objectives of the Government in the national interest of promoting telecommunication and its accessibility to the general public both in the urban and rural areas?



? ?The TRUST (BTL Workers Trust) was promoted and formed for and on behalf of the BTL management and workers and other Belizeans, especially other union and workers, to invest in the Company, and GOB is satisfied that through this corporate vehicle the objective of attaining national management for the benefit of the general public and all shareholders can and will be achieved?


? ?GOB agrees that this agreement is on the undertaking and assurance on the part of GOB that the TRUST shares shall represent a minimum of 37% of the total issued shareholding of BTL as at the time of the transfer of the shares.?


? ?Now in consideration of the premises and forgoing objectives GOB does by this


? MEMORANDUM HEREBY AGREE, IRREVOCABLY AND GURANTEE unto BTL WORKERS TRUST LTD as follows:


GOB shall sell assign and transfer to the Trust the following shares:


(a) 3,520,000 ?B? shares


(b)10,292,173 ?C? shares?



The above excerpts are taken from the Government?s draft of the Irrevocable Memorandum Agreement.


You may recall also that we offered to pay GOB for all the shares they would sell the workers. We never asked for anything free. In fact both sides had agreed that the workers would pledge the shares to GOB as security for the SSB loans and the Government loan. It is now obvious that you and your ministers never brought any good faith to the negotiating table. The record shows that the only person who got everything free in this transaction is Michael Ashcroft, because Sunshine Holdings never paid a penny for the $20 million dollar worth of shares you gave to them; neither did you get any security for the loans. I hope you realize the magnitude of the blunder you have made.


If we Belizeans were to own BTL we would manage it better than Michael Ashcroft, pay for the shares in a shorter period of time and pay taxes on our dividends, which is something that Ashcroft never does.


The Union reiterates once more its position that the 20% shares be made available to the workers of BTL and the people of Belize by the way of the Worker Trust set up by the workers/Union.


Since it would have come to your attention by now that Sunshine Holdings and its purported ?Trust? company did not receive the participation consent from the majority of the BTL staff that it had hoped for, the Government should move to undo the sale immediately and re-engage the BCWU in good faith negotiations on this matter. The BCWU is still prepared to take up the Government on its commitment to the workers earlier this year that if the Union were to obtain financing, then the GOB would sell them the shares. GOB had also committed to allowing the Union full self-determination in all matters pertaining to a Trust company set up by the workers of BTL. Anything less, is totally unsatisfactory. In our negotiations Godfrey Smith assured us in writing that the loan for the shares would be made to the BTL workers and that the shares would be sold to the workers as well.


We hold the Government of Belize to the commitments it made to us earlier this year and we note for the record that any ?Trust? that does not and will not allow the fullest participation of the rank and file workers of BTL, cannot be a genuine employee Trust.


Kindly find enclosed, signatures from the workers of BTL, which represent over 87% of the workforce, that have rejected the so called Trust of Sunshine Holdings Ltd. to own the 20% of the shares of BTL. The workers have also attested that the only true entity representing them on this matter is the BCWU. They have further confirmed that they have not indicated in writing or otherwise to any of the Directors of Sunshine Holdings, that they are participating in the Sunshine?s Belize Telecommunications Limited Employees Trust, and that this so called Trust does not truly represent the economic interest of the workers in the 20% shares of BTL.


If your Government really has the working masses of this country at heart, we would then advise that there is still time to save face in this matter if GOB so desires. Live to your commitment, Mr. Prime Minister: make the shares directly available to the BCWU. It is high time that all duplicitous behaviour of this Government come to an end. The BCWU shall not waver or falter in its pursuit of the shares on behalf of the workers and people of Belize. Ashcroft and his affiliates cannot own or control more than 25% of BTL and we intend to fight this point no matter how long it takes.


We look forward to your early response.



Faithfully,


(Signed) Paul Perriott


President BCWU


BCWU

Share

About Author

(0) Readers Comments

Comments are closed.