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Oct 28, 2016

B.I.S.L. Defeated in Claim for Compensation for Registry Takeover

Denys Barrow

The Government of Belize secured a significant legal victory this morning in the Supreme Court, where Justice Michelle Arana dismissed an application brought by Belize International Services Limited.  The suit followed the compulsory acquisition of the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize and the International Business Companies Registry in June, 2013.  The decision of the high court effectively throws out a claim for compensation to the tune of ninety million dollars for government’s nationalization of IMMARBE and the IBC registries.  Under the People’s United Party administration, control of both registries was reportedly given to BISL, through a secret contract, for a period of twenty-five years.   Today’s judgment declares that agreement unlawful.  In speaking with the media following the ruling, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow said that taxpayers can now breathe a collective sigh of relief.

 

Denys Barrow, S.C., Attorney for Government

“The outcome is that the judge, the Honorable Madame Justice Arana, dismissed the claim against the Government of Belize and ordered cost in favor of the government.  Therefore it was a clear and unqualified victory for the government.  The claim was by Belize International Services Company Limited, a supposedly Lord Ashcroft related company, for the decision by the government that the contract to operate two registries, the ships registry and the International Business Companies Registry, that that contract had expired and that a purported renewal or extension of the contract was invalid, ineffective and void.  So that was the government’s decision.  The BISL contended that the contract was valid and subsisting and that there was therefore a breach of contract when the government purported to not renew or say that it was not renewable and I think they were claiming something like sixty-three million or some major figure.  So I think the biggest victory for government right now is to not have to pay that kind of money because I think the coffers of the nation, the taxpayers money have been drawn on quite a lot in recent times.  So I think we taxpayers should be very happy about this outcome.”

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