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Nov 28, 2014

What’s at Stake Should Government Lose Nationalization Case?

Denys Barrow

Barrow says all is in play. The biggest stakes center on the controversial Eighth Constitutional Amendment which purported to vest all of Belize’s utility companies in the control of the Government for the public’s interest.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government

“A lot is at stake and there are different levels of possibilities. One major possibility is that the eighth amendment specified not just that the compulsory acquisition is deemed to be effective, but it also require that the government owes majority shares in the public utilities. So one interesting question is if the actual acquisitions are struck down as unconstitutional, if the eighth amendment in relation to deeming the properties to vest is found to be wrong or unconstitutional—although it is a constitutional amendment—the question is; will the CCJ go so far as to say it is impermissible for the nation of Belize to say that public utilities shall be owned by the public.”

 

The Government could both lose the companies and lose the buttressing of the Eighth Constitutional Amendment if the CCJ finds that Belize cannot say that a public utility company cannot be vested in the Government for the public’s interest. Alternatively, they could find either or both of the nationalizations proper, and demand compensation to the affected parties.  Barrow told us that the court prefers a central location to hear its cases and logistical matters prevent them for now from coming to Belize. While the case will be heard before the end of this year, a decision is not expected right away.

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