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Innovative Threatens Action Against Belize Government

Aug. 3, 2005 – Innovative Communication Corp. threatened about everything but invading the country if the Belize government passes a proposal to seize what ICC considers its own assets in that Central American country.
Rumors had been going through the country that the Belize Legislature was planning to pass legislation to cancel the special share of the Belizean phone company owned by ICC. The rumors became a news story on Tuesday as a TV station reported the action was imminent.
Virgin Islanders are concerned because the money used to buy other shares of the Belizean phone company was borrowed from the V.I. telephone company, formerly known as Vitelco, which is now owned by ICC. (See "Vitelco Still Waiting for ICC to Repay Loan".)
ICC Vice President Holland Redfield and Lanny Davis, ICC counsel, called a telephonic press conference Wednesday afternoon to respond to the Belizean proposal. Calling in at the conference were reporters from the Miami Herald, Belize Guardian, the V.I. Source and the V.I. Daily News.
Davis called the proposal "a reckless disregard of the law." He said ICC has made a $60-million investment, and it deserves the protection of the law.
Redfield said, "This action by the government of Belize will send a shiver down the spines of every investor, foreign and local, in Belize who can now expect the government to change laws anytime its own laws do not suit it."
He then outlined what action ICC would seek if the government did make the proposal law. These include:
— condemnation of Belize by the Organization of American States;
— freezing Belizean assets in the United States;
— suspending the visa of any Belizean government official who supports the legislation;
— issuance of an Investment Advisory for prospective U.S. investors in Belize by the U.S. Department of Commerce;
— petitioning the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to revoke or reduce benefits Belize enjoys under the Caribbean Basin Initiative;
— passage by the U.S. Congress of a Sense of Congress resolution condemning the action of the Belize Legislature as an assault on international contracts and the rule of law;
— elimination of U.S. foreign aid to Belize;
— continual rejection by the World Bank of Belizean loan requests, among others.
The reporter from Belize asked whether this was not premature considering that the proposal was not even officially made yet. Redfield and Davis said they did not want to be guilty of "closing the door after the horse had already left the barn."
Tuesday morning, Belize Channel 7 reported: "Tomorrow in the National Assembly, the PUC Act will be changed to take the golden share from Jeffrey Prosser. Government went against the articles of the company to sell Prosser the share for a $1 in April of 2004. Since then, the Prosser deal has collapsed but despite numerous requests, government has been unable to get it back. Now, rather than litigate, it will tomorrow empower the PUC to cancel the Special Share. It's now left to be seen who will get it."
Prosser is the owner of ICC. Much of the litigation concerning the case has been in Miami, and Davis reports that the Miami court has been holding the government of Belize in contempt and fining it $50,000 each day. Davis said that the Belize government had agreed to let this contract fall under the Miami court's jurisdiction.
However, the case has also been reviewed by the Supreme Court of Belize, which also claimed jurisdiction in the matter. Davis admitted that the conclusions being drawn by the Belize court were different from the court in Miami.
The Belize reporter also questioned whether Prosser ever made full payment, as required, to take control of the other shares of the phone company.
After questions along these lines by the Source and the Guardian, the ICC representatives said the press conference was not about the litigation, but about ICC's response to this latest proposal by the government.
All this is occurring as Innovative continues to have problems serving its own customers.
At the July Public Services Commission meeting, complaints were aired about telephone service problems around St. Croix going back to May 23.
David Sharpe, president of Innovative Telephone, said initially that all customers were back in service, but then admitted about 25 might still be experiencing problems. To date, many of these problems remain uncorrected on St. Croix.
For a summary of events concerning ICC and Belize (See "Who Owes How Much to Whom in Belize and Elsewhere?".)
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Thank you for tuning in - the live feed from the VI Legislature should resume momentarily.

When will we receive our tax refunds, and stimulus checks many have not received? Stop the distraction nonsense

Planning his re-election he thinks…

Is he still speaking?

he's back!

I hope it comes back!

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