Channel 7 – Telemedia & Mike Duncker Battle Over Intelco Towers

 Original Story:
18 galvanized self supporting steel towers are the only remnants of the multi-million Intelco disaster that are still standing. They are the biggest of their kind in Belize, and the towers are estimated to be worth millions. But tonight there is a war brewing over who owns them. In one corner it is cable investor Mike Duncker and in the other is Telemedia. Duncker claims that he bought the land that the towers are built on last year at an auction. But Telemedia, which at some point assumed a portion of Intelco’s debt to mop up government’s mess, has staked a legal claim on the same towers. So yesterday they sent work crews to dismantle, what the company says are “its towers.” But are they really? Not according to Mike Duncker.

Keith Swift Reporting,
This is the 240 foot steel tower at mile 8 which Telemedia employees and contractors attempted to dismantle this morning.

Mike Duncker, Has Title to Land
“We came here and we saw quite a few men, maybe nine or ten men from BTL, of the strong arm type, a lot of them of the strong armed type, and we ask what they are going to do and they said they were sent by BTL and if we had questions to call BTL. We had the title which they said they don’t care about, they said we would have to deal with BTL – not them.”

When he arrived at noon – the workers were leaving – and the tower was still standing. Mike Duncker bought the tower and the land it sits at a DFC auction last year. This title proves that he owns it.

Mike Duncker,
“We went to a public auction and bought land with fixtures. Yesterday my son came by and BTL had started to dismantle this tower. He went for a policeman who told them to stop and leave as he showed the policeman title for the land. They left. This morning we were coming back into town and we noticed that at La Democracia where we have another tower they had an armed BDF man and two KBH men – one of which was also armed. We got the policemen and had them removed as they could show no ownership and we were able to show clear ownership.”

Keith Swift,
You showed us the fact that you have title for the land, but does that also mean that you own the tower?

Mike Duncker,
“We bought it with all fixtures on the land.”

The tower at Mile 8 is a part of a network of 18 towers that Duncker bought – which were previously owned by Intelco. Duncker says his company plans to do what Intelco didn’t – and he suspects that is why Telemedia wants to pull down his towers.

Keith Swift,
Why do they want your tower down?

Mike Duncker,
“I think that it will top the competition that they know is coming and they recognize that we will pose a very serious threat to them with internet telephone and video eventually. So I am very surprised that a company like that using strong armed tactics that they are using but I think they just want to stop competition before it can get going.”

Again Mike Duncker says he owns the land and by extension the towers. That was news to Telemedia’s Manager of Marketing and Sales Karen Bevans. She says they have a legal claim on the property and they were dismantling the towers to take south to continue setting up the company’s wireless network.

Bevans says the company knows nothing of Duncker’s plan to establish a wireless network and furthermore she says that Telemedia announced its intention for a wireless network in Southern Belize in October of 2007 – long before Duncker made his plans known. She says that if Mike Duncker does have titles to the properties, he should show it to Telemedia. Failing that, Bevans says the company will proceed with its plan to dismantle all the towers and take them south to be reassembled for what she termed “the benefit of their customers” in southern Belize. Duncker has said that he tried unsuccessfully to meet with Telemedia’s Boss Dean Boyce.


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