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Oct 6, 2015

Denys Barrow Says GOB MUST Pay Arbitration Award…Regardless of Amount

In 2009, the Government of Belize seized control of B.T.L. and when a court ruling found the nationalization to be null and void, Government renationalized the company in 2011.  Now…weeks before the general election on November fourth, G.O.B. has settled with the Ashcroft Group by paying a preliminary sum of one hundred and sixty-two million in compensation and a loan settlement of twenty-two point five million U.S. dollars, which has now ballooned to close to a hundred million Belize dollars.  But that’s only the beginning. Government, as part of that settlement, has also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum based on a share value assessment being conducted by an arbitration tribunal. That sum, it is believed, could be as much as a couple hundred million dollars more because government at the time sold shares at a reduced price of five dollars. Today, G.O.B.’s attorney, Denys Barrow, told us that a decision is likely within the next three months and come what may…taxpayers will have to pay.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for G.O.B.

Denys Barrow

“The notion that it is a blank check is a misconception because Belize was taken to arbitration against the wishes of this present government but we have had to accept…the nation of Belize has had to accept that if a foreign investor takes you to arbitration pursuant to a treaty which we entered into from the 1980s then the arbitration has to proceed. That we owe money for compulsorily acquiring the property of the former shareholders is a given. So we owe them. So whether or not any settlement or not has been reached, we owe the people. And the tribunal to decide how much is to be paid, that is the arbitration tribunal. We cannot get out of it. That is not a decision that this government made. It is a situation that exists as a matter of law and that is something we cannot get out of.”

 

Reporter

“Sir but is it good legal sense, or I should say good legal advice, to have government sign an agreement to pay something that you don’t even know the value of at this point?”

 

Denys Barrow

“But the thing is this. If government did not sign an agreement to pay something that you don’t know the value of you know what would have taken place? The arbitration tribunal would still have given the same decision. So whether government signed or not government has to pay. The nation of Belize has to pay.”

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