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Nov 22, 2017

Costs from Arbitration Rose Due to Government ‘Obstinacy’

Eamon Courtenay

According to Courtenay, a letter will be forwarded to government later this week requesting payment.  Should there be no response or a refusal to pay the outstanding debt, a certificate will be sought as part of the enforcement process.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Belize Bank

“I think it is important for the Belizean public to understand that this is a matter that had been settled by arbitration.  This is a matter that had been settled by the Privy Council but the government decided to fight nonetheless.  There has been an addition of fifty-two million dollars in interest between 2013 and today.  Over fifty million dollars in interest has been added on to the amount because of the government’s obstinacy and its decision to fight Mr. Ashcroft.  It is very sad because we should not lose sight of the fact that this was a loan made by the Belize Bank.  We are talking about depositor’s money.  This is money of Belizeans who deposited in the bank that the bank loaned to UHS for this project.  Government was resisting it at the cost of fifty-two million dollars in interest.  I think the bank is now very happy that it is able to recover this amount from the government and I hope that the government will obey the CCJ.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Is there a timeline for the recovery of these funds?”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“We will write to the government this week and I’m assuming that, this one is in Belize dollars and therefore I am assuming that the government will pay.  Of course, if they don’t pay then we apply for the certificate and they have twenty-one days then to pay.  Once again, Belizeans should understand that there was an arbitration hearing.  The government started participating and tried to stop the arbitration and when they failed at that they withdrew and did not defend the interest of these people in the arbitration proceedings.  When you abdicate your responsibility and when a tribunal moves forward, you cannot in the end say, “Oh, it was corrupt.”  Because when the day was called for you to go there and make your case you ran away like a coward.  The consequence of what we have today is a government that failed to appear before the arbitral tribunal and defend Belize’s interest.  What we have a is a government that when the matter went to the Privy Council, they hid behind the skirt of the ACB and did not participate fully and then when we come to enforce, they tried to convince the court that, “well we didn’t participate in the Privy Council decision.”  The court saw through it immediately.  The ACB and the government of Belize is one and the same, absolutely one and the same and the government was in dereliction of its duty when it failed to fight in the arbitral award and failed to fight in the Privy Council.  Today’s a day of reckoning.  Unfortunately for the Belizean people it costs us fifty-two million dollars in interest, plus legal costs.”

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