Prime Minister Sceptical About Settlement
According to the Prime Minister, it appears that Lord Michael Ashcroft finds himself in a jam as a result of the recently passed legislation. In an effort to recover the amounts owed under the U.S. judgment, Barrow says anecdotally that there has been a proposal to cover these, in part, using Belizean currency.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It seems that he is saying, well in effect he is stuck and so obviously he would have to play the waiting game and try to anticipate a day when Belize would become so rich that we would have all sorts of assets abroad in the name of the government, against which he would be able to move. I don’t know that that’s going to happen any time soon and I repeat that unless and until that happens I ain’t going to pay. I’ve heard him say again that we should talk about a settlement and of course I am prepared to talk but my difficulty is how can I settle awards that are illegal in this country. I had heard a suggestion that perhaps the debt could be pay partially, or the award, not the debt, I don’t want to call it debt, could be paid partially in Belize dollars. But let me tell you what’s happening. You know we have a second payment to make with respect to the compensation ordered by the tribunal, which compensation we fully accept. The compensation award in terms of our having nationalized B.T.L. Ashcroft and I had agreed and I had put this forward to the people of Belize that any portion that was part of the settlement, that any portion of that compensation award that was attributable to the accommodation agreement would be paid in Belize dollars and would go to the people of this country via the Hayward Trust and all the charitable trust he spoke about to fund projects because, in my view, because he can’t get at us in terms of the other awards, I am now being told that since the agreement also said though that out of that second portion which is to come to the people of Belize, he is entitled to deduct his expenses incurred in trying to recover the money. I am now being told that those expenses will amount to something like seventy-five percent of the second payment. How you will tell me that and come and talk to me about settle anything?”