Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020. 12:50 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The revelations of alleged misuse of funds of Belize Telemedia Limited by now-former Chairman Nestor Vasquez has riled some of his most dedicated employees, especially those represented by the Belize Communications Workers’ Union (BCWU), which negotiated cost-cutting measures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Vasquez, who resigned and retired in October, is accused of taking close to nine hundred thousand dollars for personal expenses from the company’s corporate credit card and is alleged to have masterminded the concocting of a contract with his owned-and-operated television station, Tropical Vision Limited Channel 7, for 26 months at a value of $336,375 to in part repay these funds through advertisements. The contract has reportedly since been canceled.
Vasquez had $168,945.40 repaid of the $859,197.87 he owes through salary deductions; it is unclear if he will be made to repay the rest or face other sanctions. The majority of the bill is for the credit card charges, to the tune of $684,197.69; he also owed nearly $30,000 in fuel charges and about $23,000 in insurance premiums. Channel 7 separately owes BTL $122,611.59 in unpaid telephone and internet bills, according to LOVE News.
BCWU president Garry Yearwood told LOVE News that his membership wants a copy of the company audit to make recommendations on it after giving up certain benefits as a result of the pandemic. Employees feel tricked, to say the least, after working in some cases for the company for 30 years only to see this kind of mismanagement, he added.
Yearwood says the Union has yet to hear from the new Board and he awaits membership response on the way forward.
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