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Cabinet confrontation ends in compromise

The Prime Minister, Hon. Said Musa, appeared to be under so much ?stress? today that for the first time in our recollection, he denied our request for an interview. We wanted the opportunity to probe him on the current national issues and on the threat from seven Cabinet Ministers that they would resign if the Prime Minister did not make some hard and fast decisions about the country?s financial management.

At 8:30 this morning, six Cabinet Ministers?Hon. Mark Espat, Economic Development, Investment, Tourism and Culture; Hon. Godfrey Smith, Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Emergency Management; Hon. Jose Coye, Works; Hon. Cordel Hyde, Housing and Transport; Hon. Servulo Baeza, Agriculture and Fisheries; and Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Attorney General and Foreign Trade?sat down with the Prime Minister and negotiated with him for a total of four hours on a list of 9 demands. About 11:15 a.m., a compromise was reached, and after that preparation of a statement to be read by the P.M., began. The Prime Minister?s terse statement was aired nationwide shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Dividend freeze for BTL?s shareholders

At the 16thAnnual General Meeting of the Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) this evening, shareholders were informed that they would be paid dividends of 22 cents per share, and that no more dividends would be paid for at least the next five years.

A shareholder remarked to the newspaper that this has been the lowest dividend payment ever declared since the company?s privatization. The low dividend payment is in spite of the fact that BTL?s revenues reached another record this year, at $123.7 million.

Supreme Court freezes assets of Target Data Processing Ltd. and Generic Ltd.

Three applications made by the Government?s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for restraining orders in respect of three business entities were heard today in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas.

The business entities are Target Data Processing Limited, which has its account at Atlantic International Bank; Pegasus Resources Limited, with its account at Atlantic International Bank; and Generic Limited, which has its account at Provident and Trust Bank. All three businesses are charged with money laundering. Two of them, Target Data Processing Limited and Generic Limited, are charged with drug trafficking.

DFC defaults $38 mn loan from SSB!

We?ve all heard the stories about Glenn Godfrey?s $6 million default that had to be paid by the Belize Social Security Board. The sequel to that story is the Development Finance Corporation?s default on $38 million in loans from the Social Security Board.

Up-to-date financial records compiled for the Social Security Board (SSB) demonstrate that since July 2003, the DFC has defaulted on $849,902.60 on principal payments, on a loan that has accrued $3.34 million in interest arrears?for a total default figure of $4.2 million (mn).

Taxpayers in danger of eating $105mn Intelco loans!

Less than a year after it launched its services with much fanfare and excitement, Intelco is preparing to declare ?voluntary bankruptcy,? and taxpayers may end up with $105 million worth of bills to pay if ?the Godfrey group,? which had borrowed on Intelco?s behalf, continues to default on its existing loan obligations.

Minister of Finance, Hon. Ralph Fonseca, in an interview with Amandala today, said that ?Intelco will have to go through ?voluntary bankruptcy? and reorganize their business.?

Moody?s cuts Bze?s credit ratings over debt build-up

Finance Minister, Hon. Ralph Fonseca, today said that Government was ?very, very concerned? about Belize?s credit rating downgrade announced today by a leading international ratings agency.

After placing Belize on its sovereign watchlist on June 18, Moody?s Investors Services confirmed today that it had downgraded Belize?s ratings due to the country?s debt.

Confusion in paradise: Placencia in growing pains of development!

The skyline of the Placencia peninsula has begun to change. The once solitary Sand Castle no longer dominates the northern skyline. It has been joined by a multimillion-dollar real estate development project, Casa de la Siesta ?and its blue rooftops are beginning to add contrast to the skyline when viewed from the southern end.

But this upscale condominium complex by Canadian developer, Dianne Bulman, has been a catalyst for confusion?putting Bulman and her development company, Sea View Properties Limited, on a collision course with the Placencia Village Council (PVC), one of whose members pleaded guilty in Dangriga?s Magistrate?s Court to assaulting Bulman and spray-painting her golf cart with red paint, saying, ?no pier,? because he is adamantly opposed to the construction of a pier on the sea-front side of Placencia.

PM calls for media ?self-regulation?

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 4, 2004

As the heat from the media?s burner scorches the seat of Government in Belmopan, the Prime Minister, Hon. Said Musa, called on the Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA) to forge ?self-regulation? in radio and television broadcasting.

Coincidentally, various media houses, including Channel 7; Opposition organs - the Guardian newspaper and Wave Radio, and the Amandala newspaper have reported and commented extensively within the past five days on information that has recently reached the media indicating that Government had used $6 million of Social Security money to pay the bills of a private businessman.

Killer bees? attack ends in death of family dog

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 29, 2004

A frenzied attack from a swarm of bees, believed to be Africanized bees, has left a family dog dead and has injured a yard cutter in the Buttonwood Bay area of Belize City.

Ms. Julia McDonald, a resident of Second Street, Belize City, said that she screamed out when a large swarm of what appeared to be killer Africanized bees attacked her while she was in her front yard around 10:30 a.m. yesterday.

Public finances (SSB): private business (Intelco)

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 29, 2004

In 2002, when relations between the Government of Belize and Sir Michael Ashcroft took a downward turn, Lord Ashcroft publicly charged the Government of Belize with attempting to use $17 million of Social Security Board and Development Finance Corporation (DFC) funds to finance Intelco.

Ashcroft made the statements publicly at a Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) AGM, to explain his stern objection to the way the Government of Belize was introducing competition into the telecommunications market. He charged that Government was not creating a level playing field for competition, since what Government was in effect doing was creating what he called ?subsidized competition.?

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