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Oct 3, 2018

Senators Buck Heads over NEWCO/G.O.B. US $6 Million Settlement

The most debated motion brought to the Senate today was the conditional settlement agreement between NEWCO Limited and the Government of Belize. In 2002, the Belize Airports Authority and NEWCO Belize entered into an agreement to develop and operate the Philip Goldson International Airport. That concession agreement was terminated a year later on October twenty-seventh, 2003. Displeased with the cancelation, NEWCO commenced legal proceedings against the Government of Belize and in 2008 an arbitration tribunal issued an arbitration award against G.O.B. to the tune of four point two million US dollars, plus eight percent interest compounded quarterly. Four months later, in October 2008, G.O.B. commenced legal proceedings against NEWCO for allegedly unpaid taxes of five point four million Belize dollars. Both parties decided to settle their legal dispute with G.O.B. paying NEWCO a total of six million U.S. dollars. Today, P.U.P. Senator Valerie Woods and Senator Michael Peyrefitte bucked heads over what should have been done years ago in relation to the settlement.

 

Valerie Woods

Valerie Woods, P.U.P. Senator

“The other side would have you believe that this was a very dark and secretive thing and it was all about friends and cronies but if you read the arbitral award you can chronicle and understand why the tribunal took a case from NEWCO who took the government to task for forty six million US dollars and brought it down to a mere two point six. There is a reason for that. I also questioned, such a figure forty six million dollars how is that the well known named lawyers for the government who normally go after government cases or normally are granted them are nowhere in this one for forty six million US dollars. So it led me to the question of tax because I want to think that there is a bonafide tax case because if there isn’t then it suggest that we are being particularly abusive of government’s power to suggest that there is and to hold as a carrot stick over businesses and we cannot countenance that.”

 

Mike Peyrefitte

Mike Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“In every transaction, in every court matter where you have suits and cross suits, you could have easily checked with senior counsel to you right Senator Woods. You come to some points where everybody believes that their case is legitimate. I sue you for one thing and you turn around and sue another person or you sue me back and we have cross complaints. It gets to the point where both parties are free to decide, listen for this to prolong nobody will win so let’s settle. We can agree; I drop this case against you; I drop this case against you. It is done every day. This is not the P.U.P. There is nothing secret and shady going on.”

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