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Dec 6, 2018

G.O.B. Rejects Belize Bank’s Settlement Offer

Eamon Courtenay

The original 2004 UHS loan agreement was for thirty-three point five million dollars, but more than a decade after, the debt is believed to have ballooned to over one hundred million dollars, more than seventy percent of it being pure interest cost.  As you heard, the government has rejected Belize Bank’s offer to settle the debt by way of treasury notes or installments. In our interview with the Attorney General on Wednesday, Michael Peyrefitte said that as it relates to the specific request for payment by way of treasury notes, he was not aware of it until recently. The bank’s attorney, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay says the offer was made about a year ago.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney

“I was a little taken aback by the government saying that this is something that is new. We wrote them about that coming up to a year, saying that we are prepared to do that a long time ago. It is not something that is new. The government was well aware of it. What is new is that Mr. Waight gave evidence yesterday that in fact we can receive payment by way of Treasury notes in a way that would not affect government’s finances and I think government was taken aback by his candor and honesty with the court. So this matter can be settled in a way that is not prejudicial to the commitments government has made to the bondholders and others. Let me ask this question: what deal was cut by NEWCO with the Government why they paid NEWCO? Who benefitted and why was that paid? What deal was cut with GDG Acquisitions and why was that paid. It seems that government’s position is that unless you come and cut a deal with them, you can take your judgment and tear it up. It is encourage in my view corruption. If the position that you cannot get a judgment debt paid unless the government of the day decides that is going to take a bill to parliament to approve that payment it means that people will be lining up at the Ministry of Finance saying ‘let’s work out a deal’. That is rule by man and not the rule of law and we are asking the court not to encourage that type of behavior.”

 

The case was adjourned to January eleventh, 2019.

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