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Nov 28, 2014

BTL and BEL Acquisitions to be Heard in CCJ

Denys Barrow

BTL Employees’ Trust, British Caribbean Bank and Fortis Energy International continue to campaign for Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited to be returned to them, but money in the form of compensation for the acquired companies from the Government wouldn’t be a bad second choice. They will get the opportunity to convince the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from December tenth to twelfth that they were unfairly relieved of their properties by the Government of Belize, who claim that the nationalization of both companies were for a public purpose. The cases have meandered through Belize’s legal system, dragging many people and companies in their wake. Following a closed-door case management conference held by video link between Port of Spain, London and Belize City today, attorney representing the government entities, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, summarized the plans to hear no less than six consolidated appeals centered on the nationalizations.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government

“We had a case management conference today in which Mr. Courtenay and I and our respective juniors participated, as well as the lawyers in England for Fortis and for Dean Boyce and the court gave directions as to how the hearing would be conducted.”

 

Reporter

“What is the nature of the cases before the CCJ right now?  What is being looked at in this case management conference at this time?”

 

Denys Barrow

“There are six consolidated appeals, two of them are from the 2009 acquisition.  So those two have been consolidated with three against the 2011 acquisition brought by Boyce, by BCB and by Fortis.  And then the sixth one is an appeal by the Government of Belize against the failure of the Court of Appeal to accept that the acquisitions took retrospective effect.”

 

Reporter

“Okay, now sir, what is the earliest date for an actual hearing, a complete hearing in these appeals.  Those are set.  Those are set for, I think, Wednesday the tenth, Thursday the eleventh and Friday, twelfth of December.”

 

Reporter

“Okay and is it ordinary that the CCJ when these cases are finished deliver a judgment immediately or do they have to deliberate for some time?”

 

Denys Barrow

“It’s highly unlikely, extremely unlikely that they would give an immediate judgment.  It is possible that in certain cases for a court to give the decision and say they will give reasons afterwards.  I think because of the complexity of these cases, the significance of constitutional issues it is ninety-nine percent certain that they will not.”

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