Arguments Begin to Discharge Belize Bank Injunction on Arbitral Award
Attorneys for the Belize Bank, as well as the Government of Belize, filed into the courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin shortly before eleven o’clock this morning. The litigants were there in an attempt to convince the presiding justice of the Supreme Court why he ought to or ought not to dismiss an injunction granted by Justice Michelle Arana in favor of the Barrow administration. The court order, as it stands, bars Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited, formerly the Belize Bank Limited and BCB Holdings Limited, from making compulsory a fifty million U.S. dollar award which was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. Prime Minister Barrow is on record stating emphatically that he will not pay a single cent of the settlement because the CCJ has determined that the arbitration award cannot be enforced in Belize. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, who represents the Ashcroft Group, is not attempting to go after government’s assets or the Central Bank’s reserves outside of the country. Instead, he has filed a motion to challenge the constitutionality of the Central Bank Immunities Act. That’s the piece of legislation that was hurriedly passed through the House to safeguard those reserves. Earlier today, the Chief Justice heard submissions from both parties after which he will conclude whether the injunction will be lifted or made permanent. Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, who is representing the Government of Belize, along with attorneys Magali Perdomo and Agassi Finnegan, argues that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as well as the Caribbean Court of Justice should be firmly recognized. A second day of litigation resumes on Tuesday morning.