Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lord Ashcroft

Lord Ashcroft

1. Venezuela and Taiwan gifted millions of dollars to Belize for housing improvement and healthcare.

Reportedly, these public funds were used to pay off the debts of the private hospital Universal Health Services.

It has been reported that part of the money gifted to Belize was diverted to the Belize Bank, owned by British businessman and billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft.

Belize Bank A $10m mystery

2. "On July 13 the London Times published two leaked foreign office documents. The first involved a telegram written in 1997 by the British high commissioner in Belize, Gordon Barker, cautioning against the appointment of Ashcroft to the chair of the Caribbean trade advisory group. It warned that the Belize government viewed him with “deep suspicion” and remarked that rumors concerning his business deals cast a “shadow over his reputation that ought not to be ignored.”

"This was followed by a 1994 report by a British foreign office adviser calling for tighter regulation of financial services in Belize and noting with some alarm that “low standards of regulation and supervision” were attracting “those seeking to conceal proceeds of drug trafficking and other serious crime.”"

The case of British Tory Treasurer Michael Ashcroft: wealth ...

3. "For 15 years now, the Carlisle Group of companies, led by Mr. Michael Ashcroft and sporting various disguises such as the Belize Bank, the Belize Holdings and more recently, Mercury Investments, Pillow Talk and E-Com, has pursued a scorched earth campaign to gain control of Belize’s most profitable public company – BTL.Throughout this conspiracy to control and suck dry BTL and its Belizean consumers, it would appear that this government has been an all too willing accomplice. As it has appeared to the Belizean people, the relationship between the conspirator and his accomplice is a 'Master-Puppet' relationship." - Mark Espat

4. Lord Ashcroft Implicated In Tyco Investigation : "12 August 2002 - Former UK Tory Party Treasurer, Lord Ashcroft has found himself under investigation in connection with Tyco, the Bermuda-based US company headed by Dennis Kozlowski, who was forced to resign following allegations of tax evasion.

"It has since been alleged that in addition to committing sales tax evasion on several works of art, Mr Kozlowski also dug deep into Tyco's pockets to finance his lavish lifestyle, despite having been paid around $400 million over a four year period.

"According to a report in the UK's Guardian newspaper... Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau has expanded his investigation into improper accounting practices and tax fraud to include other Tyco executives, Lord Ashcroft among them.

"According to the newspaper, 'Lord Ashcroft is already under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulator, for a deal involving the $2.5 million sale of his former Florida home. Lord Ashcroft had sold the property to his wife for $100 just months before.'

"The Guardian also revealed that the Tory peer is one of four former and current Tyco directors named in two class action lawsuits which allege that 'false and misleading statements about Tyco's business', and 'insider trading on a massive scale' took place."


1 comment:

curly said...

Citizens for the Ouster of Lord Ashcroft Take to the Streets with Fury
posted (June 18, 2008)
How many Belizeans does it take to send Michael Ashcroft packing or at least pressure him into radically reconfiguring his practices in Belize? That’s what COLA, the “Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action” has to figure out. Today they started with a little less than 300 in the city streets, and 7NEWS was there where the first thing we found out was that the generalized Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action” had reverted to the distinctly more militant, citizens to oust Lord Ashcroft and they said it loud.

Jules Vasquez Reporting,
Walk the walk, the committee to oust Lord Ashcroft - about 250 to 300 people walked at the height of the midday heat to send the message to Michael Ashcroft, public enemy number one as the sign calls him, demanding that he pay his tax, refund the US$20 million or even more creative collages and apart from the diplomatic approach, there were raw and direct attacks.

Karen Adolphus, Protestor
“You rape poor people. We will bomb you out a fi we country. You must go. You must go tyrant, rapist, and giant. The mighty giant is we the people.”

Even children got in on it, carrying signs that compared Ashcroft to the devil, calling him a bloodsucker. And from raw hard talk to a reverent national anthem, with a special emphasis on the verse about tyrants and despots. And any figure who can turn an anthem into a protest song must rankle greatly, and these hundreds pounded the pavement and chanted their refrain.

Chanting: ‘We want wi money now!’

Evan Mose Hyde, Organizer
“As far as I am concerned we came to the scene of the crime where we feel we want to start a process to get a wrong corrected but more importantly to make Belizeans show solidarity in this. It doesn’t matter ethnicity, political party, at the end of the day $20 million, $40 million Belize for the people of Belize cannot intercepted, cannot be taken away. No finders keepers. We want people from Corozal to Toledo understand, we are out in the sun hot because we want the message reach you, when it is time for get up, unu get up. $40 million can’t dead, can’t dead. That is the point of this.”

Jules Vasquez,
But Mose isn’t this to some extent disingenuous, isn’t this prompted by the fact that Michael Ashcroft has come to you all.

Evan Mose Hyde,
“No man that is an accelerant. I think if you check the track record of our opinions you will realize the battle between we and Market Square start from a very long time. In fact if you trace back hostilities, you could go to the first time when I marched. I marched for Christine Perriott in Belmopan, in sun hot with 50 people, so that is an accelerant. Of course vested interest will make you feel all emotional about it but fi we track record hasn’t changed, there has been no diversion, this has been no tangent. We deh against what is going on here for a long time.”

Jules Vasquez,
Mose Michael Ashcroft is not hearing this, he is not here, he lives in a ivory tower far removed from these, what he would call petty slings and arrows.

Evan Mose Hyde,
“Michael Ashcroft is irrelevant. This is about the people of Belize because at the end of the day unless you are the son of God, you can’t be immune to the power of the people. And if the people get all involved in this, nothing will stand in our way – nothing. This is not a message to Michael Ashcroft, I don’t give a damn about Michael Ashcroft. He can go to hell as far as I am concerned. It is that he has to meet the full frontage of the Belizean people together, that is the strength of any nation. We have to come together.”

Jules Vasquez,
Are you convinced that this is the start of a process and not just a first futile attempt to dislodge an entrenched billionaire?

Evan Mose Hyde,
“I am full of confidence. I am a believer. Maybe I am a crazy man but I am a believer. I am convinced deep down inside of me Belizean people have the power and Belizean people will get this done. That is what I believe. This is not wishful thinking, this is a little stream that will turn into a mighty river.”

It was a message that attracted a cross section of people, some workers who took their lunch break to protest and no less than 4 Cabinet ministers, two Ministers of State, and two Opposition Deputy Leaders. In fact the anti Ashcroft sentiment was so strong it brought together Michael Finnegan and Evan X Hyde who’ve been publicly at war for about three decades – but today there they were side by side, in solidarity and protest.

Jules Vasquez,
Mr. Hyde how do you feel that you have the support of your erstwhile friend and your current friend Mr. Finnegan?

Evan X Hyde, Publisher – Amandala
“I don’t think we’ll be enemy again after this. We will be friends now, again.”

Jules Vasquez,
Mr. Finnegan how is it that you are out here, I know you’ve spoken about your personal friendship with Mr. Ashcroft?

Hon. Michael Finnegan, Minister
“I am out here not to be negative to anybody but to send a message to the business community and people who want to do business in Belize that we have to respect the citizenry of this country, that all these legal paper litigations that are in the Supreme Court will only turn the people of Belize against Mr. Ashcroft more.”

Jules Vasquez,
Sir but you see him in person or you can call him. Aren’t you able to tell him?

Hon. Michael Finnegan,
“I have given him that message personally. We spoke about a week ago and I made it clear to him that the animosity towards the people on Partridge Street in my view should come to an end and he must seek to end it because as far as I am concerned, it is getting him nowhere.”

Jules Vasquez,
I heard you were going away.

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister
“I cancelled it just to make sure I am here.”

Jules Vasquez,
Why is it so important to you?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington,
“Because it is the interest of the people, people always interest me.”

Jules Vasquez,
But are you opposed or do you support the ouster of Michael Ashcroft from Belize?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington,
“I don’t think he has done well for the country at all. I think he has more of a negative impact than a positive impact.”

Jules Vasquez,
Are you here with the blessing of your Prime Minister?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington,
“I am a rebel Jules, you know that. I don’t have to ask the Prime Minister’s permission to do something like this. I don’t have to ask his blessing either. I don’t think he has a difficulty with it but you know I am a rebel so I can do things like this and stand the consequences.”

Jules Vasquez,
What’s the purpose of a protest like this?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington,
“He is ever present. He has hundreds of agents that work for him here so he knows everything that goes on in a country.”

Jules Vasquez,
How can a few hundred people harm him?

Hon. Wilfred Elrington,
“Well this is a representation of the feeling of an entire people. Those of us who are here are representing others who for one reason or the other find it difficult to come or are afraid to come. But there is a time when people have to stand up. You’ve got to stand up for what is right, for what you believe is a principled position, and I think it is time that the people of Belize stood up and say to Michael Ashcroft and all the other conspirators who are facilitating the things that he has done to this country to say enough is enough.”

Jules Vasquez,
Do you agree that Lord Ashcroft should be ousted from Belize?

Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister
“Well I am not sure about ousted but I am certainly sure that he has taken advantage of this country and that we want him to stop. The missing money, especially paying taxes to this country, it is very important for the everyday running of this country and the goods and services we can provide for the people so we want our money. Now we are appealing to the good senses of Michael Ashcroft to do what is right. If you claim you love this country, give the people what is due because that is where we are at. That is what we are at. I don’t care how many business deals you sign, how legal it was, the truth of the matter is the people of this country at this time are in a financial crunch, how can you justify taking US$10 million of the Belizean people. How many people out here don’t have proper housing, don’t have the proper goods and services that we need to survive everyday and you as a billionaire and somebody who claims to love Belize will not do what is right.”

Hon. Edmund Castro, Minister of State
“We are out here in solidarity so that we send a message direct to the owners and the people that have betrayed this country that we are serious about change and it doesn’t matter that we are in government but US$20 million for the people of this country is 20 million dollars that has been robbed from them.”

Jules Vasquez,
With the greatest respect sir, let me give you a memo: Michael Ashcroft is not in a popularity contest, he is not a politician, he doesn’t need your support or your love or that of the people of Belize Rural North. He needs his money, he got his money, and he has contracts signed by the former Prime Minister, end of story.

Hon. Edmund Castro,
“Bottom line is that money was a gift that was sent to the Belizean people and the money belongs to the people of this nation. So we don’t care if he is not in a popularity contest, the world will see that he has done this nation wrong and we will stand up and fight until we get back our $20 million.”

Hon. Mark Espat, PUP Deputy Leader
“On the BTL matter it is that taxes should be paid. On the matter of the Venezuelan money, people want back their cheese and so we’re out here in numbers to say to the relevant person, the individual, that his social license is being revoked.”

Jules Vasquez,
Isn’t this misdirected, shouldn’t the anger be placed against your former party leader and your former Prime Minister who paid Michael Ashcroft the money?

Hon. Mark Espat,
“The business practices of the individual in question reminds me of what I have read about pirates and buccaneers. We have to put an end to that kind of business practice.”

Jules Vasquez,
Are you encouraged by the bi-partisanship of this effort, I’ve counted at least four or five UDP Ministers?

Hon. Cordel Hyde, PUP Deputy Leader
“Extremely encouraged. The problem is not a red or blue problem, the problem is not a yellow and green or a religious problem, the problem is a Belizean problem. We have this situation where we have an investor who is not right for our country because investors on a whole are not bad, we need investors. But we don’t want investors who will lord over us, who will plunder us, who will rape us, who will contaminate our democratic systems, and who will essentially be a parasite in our country.”

And apart from politicians, there were also some noted personalities and regular Belizeans.

Rufus X, Protestor
“I come to war, war against injustice Jules.”

Jules Vasquez,
Rufus you are a man of direct action. This is not direct action.

Rufus X,
“This is a warning, this is a dress rehearsal of things that are yet to come. Believe me Jules, we are going to overthrow Lord Ashcroft, we are going to make him so undesirable in this community that he has to flee.”

Jules Vasquez,
Michael Ashcroft, wherever he is, will read this or see this and just kick back and say unu can’t be serious, he is an entrenched billionaire.

Rufus X,
“That is what they said about David when we slew Goliath but believe me, believe me Michael Ashcroft knows this is dangerous to his health because he fears public aberration like this more than anything because it discredits him, he is a hypocrite in Belize but when he goes to England he poses to be this nice guy who is into humanity but actually he is a criminal. That is what I have to say of Michael Ashcroft. He has raped our economy and he will continue to do it.”

Jules Vasquez,
Richard explain to me why you’re out here, we know that you and the house of Amandala had gone cross way a couple years ago.

Richard Dickie Bradley, Protestor
“We are still friends you understand. This is a big issue.”

Jules Vasquez,
But are you a part of the movement to oust Lord Ashcroft, do you believe he should be ejected or just brought to heel?

Richard Dickie Bradley,

Jules Vasquez,
Now you know Michael Ashcroft far better than I, he will see this and say that these people are agenda pushers; Lois has an agenda against me, Amandala has an agenda against me because of Sagis, the UDP has an agenda against me so this amounts to nothing.

Lois Young Barrow, Protestor
“Well you know what, I wonder if he even pays attention to this.”

Jules Vasquez,
I am sure he does.

Lois Young Barrow,
“Yes but you know what, it is very easy for somebody to say it is a personal agenda this one and that one has and fails to see the basic issue. That is self-delusional. So if he takes that attitude then he is deluding himself.”

Bert Ramos, Protestor
“I think from the time he abstract our $20 million, he and Musa, I think Musa should go to jail and Ashcroft should give us our $20 million and we want our $20 million U.S. with interest and that is why I am out here. A lot of poor people are all over this country who needs the money and we will have a man like Ashcroft holding our $20 million it is not right so I am sending this message out to Ashcroft and to Musa that we want our $20 million now and if we have to come in the bank for it, we will go for it because we ware only starting easy.”

Jules Vasquez,
Why are you all out here?

Protestor #1,
“We are out here because we want our $20 million back, U.S., and we are not satisfied with how things are going.”

Jules Vasquez,
I know it is a big sacrifice, you’re not teenagers, and this is an arduous trek, why did you see it so important to come out?

Protestor #1,
“Because this is the future of the country. If we don’t do it, who will do it for we. This man is messing we up.”

Jules Vasquez,
What is the message you have for him?

Protestor #1,
“All I would want him to do is get out and leave we in peace, give us back our $20 million – that’s all – plus interest.”

And while the message was sent – we don’t know if it was received and now it’s left to be seen whether this effort will be a marathon and if all that acrimony and cumulative dislike will be enough to jolt the often imperturbable Lord Ashcroft.

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