Channel 7 – Mike Ashcroft May Sell Controlling Interests in BTL

April 2, 2008

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=10839

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.

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Anchor Free Website Blocked

March 29, 2008

The anchor free website (www.anchorfree.com) is blocked from Belize.  Thanks for the good ole cencorship BTL.


Channel 7 – Telemedia & Mike Duncker Battle Over Intelco Towers

February 23, 2008

 Original Story:
http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=10441&frmsrch=1
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.


Reporter – Corporate fight brewing over ownership of telecom towers

February 23, 2008

Original Story

http://www.reporter.bz/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2596

By Adolph Lucas Jr. – Staff Reporter

A corporate fight is brewing between powerhouse Telemedia Ltd. and Southern Cable Net investor Mike Duncker over eighteen steel towers once owned by Intelco.

Cable Investor Mike Duncker claims that he bought the land with the towers from the DFC at auction. But Telemedia, the telephone giant, insist that the towers belong to them.

Darren Duncker told the Reporter that the row over the tower occurred on Monday 11 February over the 240 foot steel tower located at Mile 8. Eight employees of Telemedia were in the process of taking down the tower, piece by piece. The police stepped in to stop .

“The tower and the land were bought at a DFC auction last year.” Dunker said. The title papers prove that Mike Dunker owns them.

On Tuesday, February 12 at La Democracia, where there is another tower we saw armed BDF ean and two KBH men – one of which was also armed,” Darren Duncker told Reporter.

The Dunckers’ had to call in the police again and the BDF and KBH guards were removed because Duncker was able to show proof that he had bought the land and all of the erections thereon.

The dispute continued on Thursday 14 February, Valentine’s Day. The Dunckers had placed locks on the building. They claim that BTL had sent men to break these locks and install their own locks.

Hezron Cadle, a director of Southern Cable Net Ltd told the Reporter, “B.T.L has no right to enter those premises. We own all the Intelco Towers.”

The tower at Mile 8 is a part of a network of 18 towers formerly owned by Intelco.

Duncker bought the land and the erections at a public auction authorized by the Development Finance Corporaton. Southern Cable Net Limited has plans to do what -20Intelco tried to do and failed. Southern Cable wants the network of towers for a networ of cellularl phones it intend to introduce.

According to Cadle, Southern Cable Net has a system which is far superior to B.T.L’s system. The company plans to introduce a telephone network using voice over Internet protocol or VOIP. It plans to take on BTL in head-on competition.

The Reporter has made several attempts to contact Telemedia’s Manager of Marketing and Sales, Mrs. Karen Bevans for comments, but was unable to reach her.


Reporter – Barrow’s Cabinet takes Oath of Office

February 23, 2008

Original Story:

http://www.reporter.bz/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2580&Itemid=2

By Niall Gillett – News Editor

Governor General Sir Colville Young swars in the new Cabinet comprised of 12 Ministers and five assistants at his residence in Belmopan.

The 16 chosen Ministers and Ministers of State of the new United Democratic Party Government were sworn in today, Tuesday February 12, at the residence of the Governor General in the Capital City, Belmopan.

Crammed into the small welcoming room with their families, friends and the media, they officially took on the tasks of their portfolios with a signature and a handshake from the Governor General, Sir Colville Young.

They walked down the curved driveway to be reunited with and to be greeted by crowds of their supporters, waiting to congratulate them. That afternoon, the leaders of the new government met in the Cabinet Room to begin the first official business of the day.

The programme started at about 10:15 AM with the entrance of the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. He noted that although it is not a big priority on the Government’s list, the tightly packed room needed to be made bigger.

For expediency, he asked that all swear the Oath together, rather than one at a time, and then invited each member individually to sit at the table for the signing.

After the signatures were all complete, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who was sworn in last Friday, addressed the Governor General and thanked him, reaffirming his pledge to have his Government conduct itself in an open, fair and transparent manner.

In an interview with Prime Minister Barrow after the ceremony, he told the Reporter that he and the members of Cabinet would start their first meeting discussing the various Rules and Articles of Conduct of the Cabinet.

He said it was important for the members to treat not only their fellow colleagues with mutual respect, but also the members of the Public Service. He said that they would also have an overview of Belize’s financial situation to presented by the Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight, a leftover from the previous government.

He said his administration would attempt to set a date for the inaugural First sitting of the National Assembly.

Asked about the promise for lower fuel costs, Prime Minister Barrow responded that it was his government’s plan to do away with the current Revenue Replacement Duty.

RRD on fuel, and replace it with fairer, flat tax.

He explained that this could be done in the first 90 days of the new government, provided that all legal requirements to make the changes are met.

He confirmed his pledge – to empower the Public Utilities Commision (PUC), and make changes to the currently restricted use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology in Belize.

Finally Prime Minister Barrow repeated his promise to keep the public informed about decisions made by his government, and to improve relations with the media.

Prime Minister Barrow said that he had originally conceived of four Ministers of State, but after Michael Hutchinson had done what he did in defeating the PUP incumbent, Ralph Fonseca, he promptly revised his plan and appointed him to be a Minister of State.

Hutchinson will serve as Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government, which is headed by Minister Garbriel Martinez.


BTL – VoIP Blocking Pride

November 20, 2007

At the June 2007 CANTO confernce, BTL made it very clear that they are blocking VoIP. They have proudly become the model for other Caribbean telecommunications companies to emulate. The arrogrance is so breathtaking, they even invited their VoIP blocking vendor (Bitek) to present. If you are interested in learning more about the “economic protections” employed by BTL, head over the CANTO website – http://www.canto.org – the presentations from the conference are linked from the bottom of the home page. Here are some highlights:

BTL CHAIRMAN OPENING STATEMENT 2007

Bitek International – Managing VoIP.pdf

Bitek International – VoIP Filtering.pdf

Bitek International – Reversing Revenue Decline.pdf

This takes the cake… click on the picture to see BTL’s certificate of arrogance:

Blocking Certificate


Amandala – BTL Censors Krem Radio

May 31, 2007

If you didn’t think Mikey Ashcrook was going to use his power to censor Belizean speech… now you have it. Evan Hyde responds.

Original Story:

http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=5696

Posted: 29/05/2007 – 01:18 PM
Author: Evan X Hyde

There’s been another attack made on KREM Radio by Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Telecommunications Limited. They’ve taken KREM off the Internet. Apart from denying Belizeans in the United States (and other parts of the world) the opportunity to hear Belize’s most popular radio station, BTL has taken out our Punta Gorda, Placencia, Independence, and Corozal Town connections, which work through the Internet.

Ashcroft’s attack is in retaliation for the Mose Hyde/Kalilah Enriquez campaign against the $33 million UHS motion, because it was his Belize Bank which would have benefited. KREM was taken off the Internet at 12 noon on Friday, right after the PUP Albert and Lake Independence representatives, Mark Espat and Cordel Hyde, abstained in the House of Representatives when the controversial Ashcroft Bill to convert BTL into Belize Telemedia Limited came up for a vote.

In the battle being waged in the streets and the countryside of Belize between the Ashcroft Supporters Society and the people of Belize, it is KREM Radio which the Englishman considers more dangerous than the newspaper. There are different reasons for this, but I will discuss these reasons another time. Suffice to say that at the book launching a couple months ago for the LOVE FM owner’s literary effort, Lord Ashcroft showed up in the front row, and when questioned about it by Jules Vasquez, responded, “Anything for Rene!”

When Lord Ashcroft launched a legal and financial attack against KREM Radio in late March of this year, a very successful UDP area representative tried to whip up UDP sentiment against myself and KREM Radio in the UDP’s newspaper. This UDP politician has a friendly relationship with the wealthy Lord, and that friendly relationship was on national television for all to see. So I will just leave it at that.

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