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Belize: “GOB SIGNS $1 MIL MANAGEMENT CONTRACT FOR CIVIC WITH PRIVATE, FOREIGN COMPANY”

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 21, 2018– The bold nationalism that the Dean Barrow-led United Democratic Party (UDP) government espoused at the time it nationalized the telephone company, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), appeared to have been cast to the winds when on Monday, March 19, the government signed a 1-million-dollar contract for the management of the CIVIC, the sprawling $33 million sporting complex at the foot of the Belcan Bridge, with Apex International Services, LLC, a company registered in Florida, U.S.A.

Apex International, which will engage in profit-sharing with the Government of Belize for the revenues generated by the activities at the Civic, was recommended by a Washington-based company, ING Rebel.

Apex International is said locally to be owned by Chad Eckert. According to a document from the Florida Department of State, Apex International Event Services’ principal address is 7971 Rivera Boulevard, Miramar, Florida.

In addition to noting its principal address, the document lists the company’s registered agent as Cardozo, Eckert & Sanchez PLLC, with an address at 3440 Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 415, Hollywood, Florida.

Eckert, however, formed and registered a company in Belize, Apex Events Services Belize Limited. The directors of the company are Chad Eckert, Lucinda Fran Castillo, and Garth Anthony Guthrie, and Apex International is listed as a shareholder with 10,000 shares.

In Belize, the registered office is listed as 28 Regent Street, Belize City.

On Tuesday, the day after the contract-signing ceremony, the PUP National Deputy Leader, Hon. Cordel Hyde, at a press conference held by the People’s United Party, commented on the management contract as follows: “I think it is incredible that the government builds a $33 million building and then looks at us and says well, we can’t find anybody in the public service to manage it. There are 15 thousand public officers, some people say 17 thousand public officers, some of those persons are trained in some of the most prestigious universities in all the world, and you tell me you can’t find one public officer or a few public officers who can manage a facility like that, or learn to manage a facility like that?”

“Something about that makes no sense. At the end of the day, you hear some foreigner has gotten the contract along with some silent local partners; it is just mind-boggling to me. I don’t know, man, I’ve said it before, if we ever reach Belmopan, we should just tear that up, tear up the contract, rubbish that. I don’t see what’s so incredibly difficult to manage a stadium,” Hyde said.    Christy Maestre, the general manager of Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), a government agency created in 2012 to undertake the design, construction and management of capital projects  in Belize, said that the contract is for three years with a government guarantee.

Maestre said the profit-sharing will be a ladder-style one that begins at a 75/25 split at first, then it goes to 50/50, “So the government always comes out with extra above. So not only are we revenue-neutral; we have the capacity to earn money while they maintain the facility,” Maestre revealed.

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