By Gilroy Usher, Sr.
“There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” -Woodrow T. Wilson
On November 11, 2020 the new administration had a massive landslide 26 to 5 victory at the polls. Instead of becoming arrogant and drunk with such power, they chose to appointed a new board of directors for BTL that consist of persons of known integrity and vast experience in managing companies successfully.
These new directors are Chairman Mark Lizarraga – proprietor of Southside Meats and know advocate for transparency and accountability as former Senator for the business community. Marconi Leal, Jr- former marketing executive at B.T.L., Jermaine Usher, Jose Urbina, Attorney Denise Courtney, Michael Bowen – C.E.O. of Bowen and Bowen Company Ltd, and Eric Eusey.
This new Board is a far cry from it’s predecessor that was know mainly for blind loyalty to then ruling party, and several members with limited experience in managing an investment successfully.
In speaking to the press the new Chairman revealed that over the last 12 years BTL had become a severe burden on the taxpayers of the county.
It was disclosed that after the previous government invested over a $1 billion of taxpayers money in B.T.L., the company is so cash trapped that it has not paid the government over $19 million in profits for its huge investment in its operation. .
It was also stated that despite its huge backing with taxpayers money, due to lack of proper management and vision, B.T.L. had lost it major competitive edge as the largest telecom provider in the county and was simply another provider in competition with smaller companies.
The telecommunication company suffered even more lost in obtaining value for money when the then Prime Minister appointed his son as it C.E.O. with a huge salary and exceptional benefits that enable him to rake in millions for himself although he was totally unqualified for the job.
The new Board of B.T.L. is committed to fighting corruption that is responsible for numerous problems that has hindered the success of the business. In that respect it was announced that a system of internal audit will be established with responsibility to report its findings directly to the Board instead of to its chairman. It was that lack of oversight which allowed the former Chairman to hide the unauthorized spending of over $800,000.00 of the company’s money with use of its credit card for lavish personal expenses. The new Board has also take the necessary steps to ensure the former Chairman fully repays his debt to the company within a reasonable time.
The latter decision was uncharacteristic of the previous government, which made no serious effort to collect a total of $800,000.00 from Sharon Pitts and Andre Vega, after they were each wrongfully paid $400,000, almost half million dollars each of taxpayers money in separate bogus land compensation.
The decision of the new administration to constitute a Board for B.T.L. which demands accountability, transparency, and enlighten management in government is in keeping with its manifesto pledge to wage a true war against corruption, which is largely responsible for many of the social ills that confronts the country.
The progressive changes that are being made at B.T.L. by its new Board is a breath of fresh air and reason for hope of a better country in which everyone wins. For the first time in over a decade persons in authority are making decisions for the best interest of the people and the country instead of themselves.
It is the sincere hope of everyone that this good start in truly serving the people by the new Board of B.T.L. will serve as a trail blazer for the other statutory boards that will be established by the Briceño administration.
To my Belize and especially my constituency, Port Loyola, a Merry and Safe Christmas and a Happy New Year.