BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020– At an adjournment during Wednesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, Hon. Julius Espat, area representative for Cayo South, rose to rekindle the conversation surrounding the special contract for the national lottery and boledo draw that was awarded to Brad’s Gaming Company.
The contract, which Espat calculates to be worth half a billion dollars, was once again awarded to Brad’s in July of this year, to the dismay of the Opposition, the People’s United Party (PUP), who issued a press release calling it “outrageous cronyism and mismanagement”.
On Wednesday, Espat rose to make additional allegations of mismanagement, and this time, outright nepotism. The Cayo South representative called into question the connection between Anwar Barrow, the Prime Minister’s son, and the shareholdings in Brad’s Gaming Group.
Espat said that through his research, he found that an offshore company located in St. Lucia, named Good Lee Limited, holds 6,000 shares of Brad’s Gaming Group; this equates to 60% of the Boledo contract, Espat said, and by his estimation, is worth three hundred million dollars.
In his presentation, Espat went on to question the connection between the offshore company, Good Lee Limited, and three companies believed to be linked to Anwar Barrow — Quickstop Personal Finance, Creative Content Ltd. and Prudential Management Firm.
He went on to question whether or not a payment of US$500,000 was paid to Quickstop Personal Finance on November 30, 2018. Espat said, “On the 28th January 2019, Good Lee paid Creative Content $417,000 dollars; on March 31, 2020, Good Lee paid Prudential Management 1 million US dollars and made another transfer of $100,000 US on April 21, 2020.”
Prime Minister Dean Barrow pointed out that the contract had already been debated when the area representative for Lake Independence, Cordel Hyde, raised the issue. Barrow said that Espat was trying to besmirch the name of his son. He commented, “This contract was handled by the lotteries tender committee. What you are doing is to be complete and utter naïve. You are trying, in the form of fictitious questions that have no basis, no substance, to try and impugn the character of my son. If my son was involved in anything you put it out there, you bring the facts to show that.”
Apart from going on the complete offensive on behalf of his son, Barrow also downplayed the value of the Boledo contract, saying, “Recollect what we’re talking about, a contract that went to tender, and it’s no five-hundred-million-dollar contract. Brad’s pay or the company pays the government, I think, two million dollars a year, and clearly, the rest of his earning, after he’s paid his expenses, go to the company. But at no point, before we privatized the Boledo, was the government making any huge money off lottery”.
It is common knowledge that the advancement of technology in the country and the digitalization of the various games controlled by Brad’s Gaming Group has led to wider and easier accessibility to the public; this computerized method has proved itself to be much more effective, and lucrative, than traditional sales of lottery tickets printed on paper.