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Mar 24, 2017

Belize Bank May Go to C.C.J. to Challenge U.H.S. Judgement

Eamon Courtenay

Is the Belize Bank headed to the CCJ to force the application of an arbitral award against the Government of Belize?  It is perhaps the only option left, since the Court of Appeal has dismissed a claim brought forward by the Ashcroft-related company.  On June eighth, 2016, Justice Amit Mehta, a federal judge in the District of Columbia, ruled in favor of the enforcement of an award of approximately thirty-seven million dollars in a claim filed by the Belize Bank.  The argument arises out of an agreement that was signed by former Prime Minister Said Musa back in 2004, which promised payment of a loan owed to the Belize Bank by Universal Health Services.  Litigation began three years later, when government entered into a thirty-three million dollar settlement after it became clear that the debt would not be paid off in its entirety.  Despite a judgment in its favor, the Belize Bank has been unable to collect on the arbitral award since the Supreme Court denied permission to make compulsory that decision locally.  This morning, we spoke with Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay who represents the Belize Bank.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Belize Bank

“This was an appeal from Madam Justice Griffith in which she refused to allow permission to enforce the arbitral award relating to the UHS financing.  You will recall that the Development Finance Corporation provided financing for UHS hospital and it was eventually, that debt the Government of Belize issued a promissory note.  You will recall that the Privy Council had ruled that the promissory note was not in violation of the Finance and Audit Reform Act and therefore we then came to enforce the award.  Madam Justice Griffith refused and said that she would not enforce it because it was contrary to public policy.  I have not read the judgment that the court just handed down but it was a majority decision in which they upheld her decision and one of the judges appears to have given a very strong dissenting judgment, from listening to what he said in court just now.  But we would have to read it to say anything more about the judgment.”

 

Reporter

“How does this affect your client’s position given that enforcement has been refused once again?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Well again, I mean, I am just coming out of court.  We have to look at the judgments to advise the client, but I would suspect that the CCJ is an option.”

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