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Jul 6, 2016

Eamon Courtenay Chides G.O.B. Over B.T.L. Settlement

On July twelfth, ten working days after the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration was handed down, G.O.B. will need to make a payment of about one hundred and ninety-five million dollars to the Ashcroft Group. That’s only half of what G.O.B. must pay for its acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited in 2009; the second half is due within a year. In September 2015, when the settlement agreement between Lord Ashcroft and Prime Minister Dean Barrow was signed, a preliminary sixty-three million dollars was paid, and then there was the BCB settlement of ninety-seven million. All told, the government is going to pay more than five hundred and fifty million dollars for the utility company. Today, that payment and government’s handling of the entire situation came in for some scathing criticism. Interestingly, the critic is Eamon Courtenay, the attorney who handled much of the B.T.L. litigation for Lord Ashcroft. He claims that when all was said and done, what the Prime Minister did can only be termed a negotiated surrender.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Senator, People’s United Party

“I believe that the settlement was not in the interest of Belize. I think it took too long. All the things that the Ashcroft Group of Companies was asking for they got, and I cannot understand why it is that after millions upon millions of dollars have been spent in legal fees and millions of dollars in interest have been accrued, that we just go to Miami and concede everything on the BCB loan, concede virtually everything on the shares and agree to pay it all in a year. I think it’s a complete concession by the government and I think the people of Belize want an explanation of the exorbitant five hundred and fifty million that has to be paid.  What happened in Miami was a surrender, a negotiated surrender by the Prime Minister. It wasn’t a judgment of the CCJ. It wasn’t a judgment of any arbitral tribunal. It wasn’t a judgment of our Courts. That was something that was negotiated and I am entitled to criticize what was negotiated by the Prime Minister because I do not believe that it was in the interest of Belize. We have five hundred and fifty million dollars to pay as a result of that concession.”

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