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Nov 29, 2017

Belize Bank Has 3 Weeks to Serve U.H.S. Judgment, Goes to House Next

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow finally broke his silence today exactly one week after the Caribbean Court of Justice delivered a ruling in which it granted leave to the Belize Bank to pursue the enforcement of a ninety million dollar award.  That compensation is in respect of a mounting debt which stems from a private loan secured by Universal Health Services back in 2004, which was subsequently assumed by the Government of Belize when UHS defaulted on payment.  Several cabinet ministers have weighed in on the CCJ’s decision, as well as their individual views on the matter, so the PM’s formal position was predicable when he outlined his administration’s stance at a two hour press briefing.  PM Barrow started off by describing the process through which government can be served with a certificate requesting the payment of the outstanding monies.  The gist of the lengthy presentation, however, is that government will not be paying out to the Belize Bank, despite a pending proposal to be tabled at the next house meeting.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The first point to make is that while the bank won the case, the CCJ refused to make the particular order, or one particular order that the bank sought.  The bank had specifically asked the CCJ to compel the Minister of Finance to straight away pay to the bank the full amount of the award.  The court refused to do that and it refused, in my view, principally for the reason that even the CCJ is not bigger than our constitution.  The CCJ is subject to the constitution of this country and that constitution, as the CCJ recognized and accepted, is clear that no money can be taken out of our Consolidated Revenue Fund, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of this country for any purpose, including to satisfy a judgment, unless that money has first been appropriated by parliament for this specific purpose.  So, the Minister of Finance, the court clearly conceded, can only pay if parliament approves and authorizes that payment.  And presumably, parliament would have to know where that money is to come from that it is to approve and appropriate if it so decides.  Furthermore, the court made plain that there is a procedure to be followed under our crown proceedings act, this is the law that speaks to the manner in which litigants who obtain judgments against the Crown or government are to try to get their judgments satisfied.  And under that Crown Proceedings Act, even before reaching the stage where parliament can be asked to appropriate money to pay a judgment against the country, against the state, the party seeking payment must first wait at least twenty-one days after the judgment has been passed.  Then, and only then, after the twenty-one days would have elapsed, can that party, in this case the bank, procure a certificate from the Registrar of the Supreme Court, not the CCJ, stating the amount that the judgment is for.  That certificate is then served on the government.”

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1 Response for “Belize Bank Has 3 Weeks to Serve U.H.S. Judgment, Goes to House Next”

  1. concern says:

    This is not good for Belize and is being driven now to a Dictatorship leadership. I think that decion is no way wise and procrastination of a debt, which is for the Beliz Bank depositors (peoples) money, is being prejudice.

    PM rethink and forecast what will be the consequences and bad name to be given to the Belizean people. Meditate on why you drag this debt and now placing more dragging. Think on the millions spent unwisely that should have gone to the poor people not as political buying votes but rather in infrastricture,schools,agriculture, health and other basic needs..think wisely PM

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