The Barrow Administration and the Belize Bank are presently locked in a dispute over US$10 million in grant funds from the government of Venezuela. On March 15th the Central Bank instructed the Belize Bank to return the US$10 million to government in 10 days or face the possibility of criminal charges being brought against President Phil Johnson.
Since then, a ten day extension has been granted, and that expires on Thursday. But best information suggests that the Bank will go to court to seek some relief from the directive before the extension expires.
So while there will clearly be a battle between government and Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Bank for the US$10 million, reports to 7NEWS indicate that Ashcroft may not be as ready to fight over BTL. Multiple senior sources tell 7NEWS that Ashcroft is inclined to sell off his controlling interests in BTL. He reportedly communicated this to the Prime Minister before Easter.
Government expects to see definitive progress towards this within the next three months. But, at this time, it is not a done deal, and indications are that the company is being shopped around. Now, who will buy it and under what covenants? Those are the tricky questions because best reports suggest that there are a number of consequential side agreements – including one for a guaranteed rate of return.
Those were signed by the last government and the current government knows nothing about them and claims to not even have copies of them. Many issues, and the Prime Minister’s press secretary will have a press conference tomorrow at which he will discuss the latest on efforts to recover the Venezuelan money.