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No Shrinking Violets – Michael and Marli Print E-mail
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Thursday, 21 July 2011 00:00

With enough money you can create your own reality or so you may think.  Almost two and a half years since his last appearance on OYE the Lord of Belize was at it again. While he had spent the last two and one half years away from Belize he was nonetheless busy, busy setting the stage for this dramatic return, albeit by a satellite feed from a plush suite in Miami. He was working  not so covertly to coordinate a vicious and intense smear campaign against Belize’s good name in international circles; collaborating with the likes of racists American propagandist that created the anti-Obama swift boat ads; and dispatching his Brooks Brothers adorned emissaries Courtenay,  Smith, Young and others from the Belize Chamber of Commerce across the globe with traitorous tongues and minds, operating under the plume of Friends of Belize ( aka free on boarders(fob)) to sully the international image of Belize.


Unlike the last time where he appeared visibly pallid and emaciated the Lord displayed a little pluck and some improved health. All spruced up in jeans and sleeves, he was sporting an unnatural Hollywood like tan with a full mane of freshly rinsed and groomed Just For Men ash brown. He was reposed in a fluffy lily white armchair that provided a deceptive contrast to his pale tan while  Channel 5’s OYE darling co-hostess Marleni Cuellar sat opposite, leaning forward attentively with splenda like sweetness from between the lush folds of a matching chair. The scene was set, bearing the same sterile fake authenticity as that of the PUP’s Unity Press Conference that followed their staged House walk out of a few weeks ago. Ironically, at the press conference  it was none other than Channel 5’s Jose Sanchez who on perfect cue, led off the questioning with a prearranged set to which the memory challenged Johnny Briceno was able to rattle (or should we say read) off scripted responses including a verbatim quote from PM Barrow. Imagine that!
But back to the return of the Lord; all of Belize was no doubt dazzled by the pristine setting. I too found myself gawking and for a brief moment, even got lost in the obvious onscreen thespian play- between the Lord and his lovely hostess as they affectionately referred to each other by the pet names Michael and Marli. The omniscient Lord being the owner of the TV station was allowed to ramble on at length on a slew of subjects as Marli dutifully stroked him with well timed prearranged one-liners. I watched in shock as the diabolical plot to dupe Belizeans unfolded and the Lord, believe it or not, shamelessly painted himself as a dispossessed foreign investor, victimised as a political scapegoat by the Barrow administration.  Imagine this coming from the real leader and financier of the PUP.

The Lord then complained about the horrid financial performance of his bank, The Belize Bank Limited. He blamed everything for the poor performance of his bank including the economy, a fictitious decline of the productive sector, the negative investment climate (which he worked assiduously to try and create), the national debt which he rightly attributed to his PUP and the proceeds of which he was a great beneficiary. He blamed everything and everybody except the real culprit, his now deposed manager Phil Johnson who, at the Lord’s behest, extended hundreds of millions in ill-advised political loans to the likes of PUP cronies Luke Espat, the Novelo brothers and Papi Pena. No my Lord, Luke, Papi and the Novelos are not the productive sector. In fact, the only thing they have ever produced is bad debt and misery; ask Phil.

He then went into his usual bleating about losing control of BTL, complaining that it was wrong for the Central Bank as a regulator to buy shares, completely ignoring the fact that prior to his takeover of BTL the Central Bank had always held shares or that his lackey Keith Arnold, while still serving as the head of the FIU, the premier enforcer for anti-money laundering, was shamelessly appointed by the Lord as BTL’s chairman. The Lord conveniently forgot that Keith at the same time was supposed to be investigating the same BTL for money laundering but opted to resign as the FIU director instead. We all know now why that investigation eventually fell apart.  So, just where was the Lord’s appreciation for the rule of law or sanctity of public office back then? Come to think of it, just where was the Belize Chamber of Commerce back then?

Then he spoke about his spurned ego, his bitter disappointment that his use of the legal services of Barrow & Williams can fetch him no currency with Belmopan since 2008. I do not know if he realized it, but that was a resounding public testament to Mr. Barrow’s integrity.

The cherry topping came when the Lord explained how he plans to share the compensation money from BTL with other Belizean businessmen and the BTL union. Could this be the fat carrot that now has the Belize Chamber of Commerce braying blue fumes at the Barrow administration? Imagine such divine benevolence from a coldblooded financial predator and corporate raider who refuses to pay a single farthing in taxes to his third world host country? Rolling over on the floor in peals of laughter, I told a friend that I am prepared to wager my life against a half bucket of shit that the only thing the Chamber will ever get from Ashcroft will be a royal  supersized bukut (please excuse the imagery) if Johnny and the Dirty Thirty were ever to win.