Thursday, 13 March 2014

A New Lord for Belize?

By Louis Wade
His name appeared almost as a blip on Channel 5 News in July of 2013: Lord Neil B Gibson, of LNBG, LLC.
But after the win of the now UDP standard bearer for Cayo South, Ralph Huang, the name is back in the public domain, and with a vengeance.
Interestingly though, few mainstream media have picked up the story this time. It is social media that is abuzz with discussion and ‘evidence’ about the ‘partnership’ that this Lord Neil B Gibson claims he has with Minister of Trade and Investment, Hon Erwin Contreras, and Standard Bearer, Ralph Huang.
In an interview with LoveTV, RALPH HUANG told the reporter: “Yes, I do know the man and he is a very wonderful person, and he is my friend, and we do have business together abroad.”
In January of 2012, Lord Gibson announced that Ralph Huang had teamed up with First Interstate Group, and Lord Neil B. Gibson for a 40-acre parcel of land valued at approximately $700,000.00USD along the Western Highway to be donated to a “tropical storm resilient” housing project. In January of last year, 2013, Gibson announced that his Belize Energy Company plans to introduce ultra clean energy independence to the country of Belize with a proposed 20 megawatt base load electricity utilizing Hydrogen Fuel Cells”; a partnership between Handel’s Securities and the DayDra Holdings Group.
The first red flag is that a local politician has also admitted that Lord Gibson, a foreign investor, contributed to his campaign. An honest admission, but it is also very telling, even though Huang claims Gibson expects nothing in return. A pre-election release from the Company stated: “Our business organizations would honourably like to declare our political and financial support of Mr. Ralph Huang’s candidacy for the position of Standard Bearer in Cayo South”.
It appears that the company sees Huang’s win as beneficial to its interests in Belize:
“Our organizations have had ample opportunities in the last 5-years to analyze our future economic benefits and objectives of the various economic executions into the country of Belize. We have found Ralph’s honest insight and practical approach for future country growth, with our country’s desire to invest into Belize.” It further states that Huang’s qualities “ensure our organizations future commitment to execute our organizations’ [intent] to invest into the country of Belize.”
To give an endorsement AND financial contribution on the premise that a candidate’s win is beneficial to that company’s investments is indeed questionable.
The second red flag is without doubt, the status of LNBG, LLC, Lord Gibson’s flagship company, which, according to The Central Bank of Belize, “… is not licensed to provide banking and/or financial business in or from within Belize”.
This in a letter to journalist, Jose Sanchez, who requested information from the Central Bank regarding the status of LNBG LLC and their website named This “fake” Central Bank website seems to focus exclusively on attempting to clear Lord Neil B. Gibson and Handel’s Security. We also discovered a fake Channel 5 website which mirrors the fake Central Bank website.
Channel 5 had run a story last year which says, “Lord Gibson is a fraud, and he is using the fantasy idea to develop a website with videos and articles to fool potential investors into swindling their money.”
The Central Bank warning is very clear. Since 13 February, 2013, Handels Securities “…is not licensed to provide banking and/or financial business in or from within Belize. This warning is still in place.”
Yet, a letter has surfaced purportedly signed by Minister of Trade, Hon. Erwin Contreras and sent to Lord Gibson, dated March 24, 2013, countering the warnings. It states:
“We did a separate investigation into allegations made against Handel’s Securities Ltd and found them all to be false claims. I personally sat with the chairman of the Central Bank of Belize and Mr Gibson, and we were told by the Chairman that the Central Bank was investigating Handel’s Bank & Trust Co Ltd., an international bank licensed in Belize, for alleged wrong doing, not Handel’s Securities.”
Note that, according to the letter, the meeting was held, NOT with the Governor of the Central Bank, but with the Chairman. Was it the Ministry of Trade that did a separate investigation from the Central Bank?
Red Flag number three is that the official website of Lord Neil B Gibson states “that the partnership has been working closely with the Honourable Erwin Rafael Contreras, (Minister of) Trade Investment, Private Sector Development and Consumer Protection.” In fact only 2 months ago, Lord Gibson rolled out another huge plan for Belize; complete with the claim of another Minister Contreras endorsement.
“The Government and I are in full support of LNBG, LLC in their vision and efforts to help build new state of the art medical centres in different areas of Belize.”
Too many rolling endorsements with precious little on the ground to validate the claims, yet a bold move to enter Belize’s electoral process and political landscape. This is not a comfortable scenario.
Red Flag four is a video introducing the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electrical generation Plant for Belize which refers to Ralph Huang as “Deputy Minister of Trade, under Minister Erwin Contreras”. To claim such a close relationship between Huang and Lord Gibson and still not know that Huang could not be a Deputy Minister? Or are we missing something?
The questions are many, clarifications are without a doubt, missing. When LoveTV asked Huang, “Do you know if he is assisting any other ministers or any other standard bearers or any potential standard bearers?” RALPH HUANG responded, “No comments; no comments on that topic there.”
After Wednesday’s PAC meeting, PlusNews waited for Hon. Contreras to find out if he could either validate or refute Lord Gibson’s claims. Mr. Contreras was asked a number of questions about his relationship, if any, with Lord Gibson, including the “Deputy Huang” title, but Hon. Contreras only said, “No comment”.
Final Red Flag… There are too many “no comments”. It’s time for Officials to speak and clarify what is going on here.

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