The Port in Ashcroft control Ashcroft company calls in Port of Belize Loans Print E-mail
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Thursday, 24 November 2011 00:00
PortGoing into the Port of Belize has become quite the task, as the management of the institution is closely screening who comes into the port to do business. The port is on near lock down after agents for Michael Ashcroft have been attempting to make their way into the compound and the offices of the Port of Belize Limited to present the managers with a letter of receivership.

The first attempt to serve the Port of Belize Limited with a letter of receivership was at around midday on Monday November 21. At the time agents of Lord Michael Ashcroft attempted to step into the property of the Port of Belize to serve the operators with a letter of receivership but they were turned back at the gate by security personnel, who refused them entry. Their attempt did not end there however, as they tried to enter the compound again on Wednesday morning, and again they were barred entry into the compound. Apparently, there has been some directive given to managers at the Port of Belize Limited to not allow anyone into the compound, who represents Michael Ashcroft.

The situation has become testy as the current owner of the Port tries to cling on to one of the few remaining assets, which he had mortgaged with the Belize Bank. Still, the bank is coming for it. He had managed to separate the Port from other assets he had control over such as Crockland and Indeco, which both went into receivership in December of last year. At the time the Port was somehow turned over to a company called Private Investment Limited (PIL) but Luke Espat remained at the helm. The PIL is yet another of Ashcroft’s paper companies, which holds great interest in assets not only for Luke Espat but for others, who have borrowed from the Belize Bank.

In March of this year, the Guardian reported on PIL as it had bought over a significant portion of what are called L.E.G. loans, or the Luke Espat Group loans which Luke Espat had taken out with the Belize Bank. At the time, we reported that PIL had taken over companies under the L.E.G. that had cash flows such as the Port of Belize Limited loans and the Renaissance Towers loans. The others, which were non-performing like Crockland, Indeco and others, were left with the Belize Bank.

On August 25th, PIL came for the Renaissance Tower and now, as we had indicated at that time, PIL is coming for the Port of Belize.

PIL is a company owned by Prize Holdings International Limited registered in Tortola, British Virgin Islands and from time to time, it has changed directors with the usual Ashcroft soldiers at the helm of it; those being persons like Phil Osborne, Phil Johnson, Dean Boyce, Melquisedeq Flores, Ian Robinson and others all with the common address of 60 Market Square.
While the situation of who will control the Port is a looming one, there is the greater concern by shippers and agents, who wonder if the Port will be closed for business and what impact it will have on business in Belize. Already, the Port had not been serving those, who use it with its optimum capacity. As we had reported earlier, the Port found itself in a sorry state of affairs with much work being needed as a form of rehabilitation and for the port to be able to accommodate the traffic that it once did. Since then, some remedial work was done on the facilities but still not to the satisfaction of shipping agents and users of the port. Now with PIL about to take over the facilities, it is questioned whether or not it will be closed down or will it remain opened as a going concern. One thing is clear, under the management of Luke Espat, it deteriorated significantly and the fees being charged for its use were increased in an astronomic fashion.