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Jul 25, 2017

Second payment made for B.T.L., but will Belize get some money back?

Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned to Belize from personal leave in the United States around lunchtime today. Reporters met him at the Philip Goldson International Airport for an extensive briefing on several national issues. The top story tonight is that the Government of Belize has paid the second and final payment for the settlement of claims relating to the double acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited in 2009 and 2011. The figure runs to the hundreds of millions and is essentially paid ‘under protest,’ because the Government vehemently disagrees that the sums claimed by Dunkeld International Investments, the B.T.L. Employees’ Trust and allied claimants for costs relating to the settlement are accurate and legitimate. The matter is headed to the Caribbean Court of Justice in October, although according to the Prime Minister, the court will not hear actual arguments on the claim but matters relating to disclosure.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“As far as we are concerned, we have paid. The question, the argument is over the currency mix and over how much of the payment is to be converted into U.S. dollars and given over to these people as in fact recompense for the liabilities that they incurred in consequence of the nationalization, but the global payment has been made. So far, that hearing will only be about the application of the Government to have the Ashcroft Alliance make full and detailed disclosure of the documentation that may or may not support these large claims that we think are so horribly inflated, horribly exaggerated. Once that is determined, if the court says to the Alliance, ‘Yes, you must turn over that material,’ then we will have a chance to in fact examine that material, go over that material, before we head back to court to make our arguments as to why the claims of the Alliance are illegitimate. So, I don’t think that whatever date that is finally determined in October, the hearing then; I don’t think that will mark an end of the matter.”

 

The Court’s website lists the hearing date as the sixth of October at its seat in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

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