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Jan 27, 2017

Jail for Attempts to Encourage Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

Dean Barrow

The other piece of legislation is an amendment to the Crown Proceedings Act. It intends to make provisions on enforcements of foreign judgments against the Crown, and is also a direct answer to the efforts of B.S.D.L. and Caribbean Investment Holdings to enforce the arbitral awards. According to the Prime Minister, notwithstanding the refusal of Belize’s courts, including the Caribbean Court of Justice, to enforce the arbitral awards which they have said are unconstitutional, repugnant to public policy and void, the companies insist on moving forward, and so they are forced to come down on them and their agents.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This particular Bill, if it passes, will make clear that no one can properly enforce abroad an arbitral award once that award has been declared unconstitutional, illegal and void by our courts. To the extent we are able; we will prevent you from bypassing our courts and going to the U.S. Again, if you are not within our jurisdiction, practically, we may end up being powerless. But by God, Madam Speaker, we are obliged to do everything we can to protect not just Belize, but the Caribbean from this sort of depredation. And so what this Bill is saying, is that in circumstances where an award has been pronounced upon by our courts negatively – in circumstances where an award has been ruled out of order and unconstitutional, anybody who seeks – an award that’s made against the Crown, against the Government – anybody who seeks to enforce that award notwithstanding our pronouncements, pronouncements by our courts; anybody who seeks to enforce that award abroad will also be guilty of an offence. We mean in our own self-interest, clearly, but also in aid and support of the C.C.J., to do everything we can to deter this flagrant contempt that what is happening in Washington displays for the C.C.J.”

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