CCJ rules Supreme Court to hear case over re-nationalization of Telemedia
A decision was delivered this morning in respect of the ongoing legal battles over the acquisition of Telemedia. Justice Michelle Arana’s court room, was packed with attorneys from both sides in the Telemedia litigation. Via video conferencing from Trinidad, the Caribbean Court of Justice handed down a preliminary decision to appeals brought by Dean Boyce and the British Caribbean Bank. The background is that last year in August, attorneys, Eamon Courtenay and Godfrey Smith, representing Boyce and the Bank got leave by the CCJ to hear the appeals. The CCJ at the time restrained the government from selling any shares in Telemedia and ordered that all proceeds of previous sales from Telemedia shares be kept intact in accounts at the Central Bank or the commercial banks. Justice Denis Byron on behalf of the panel of five judges read the forty-five minute decision this morning and stayed that appeal. In a nutshell, the CCJ decided that the legal challenges brought against the re-nationalization in 2011 of Telemedia as well as the Eight Amendment must first be heard at the Supreme Court as currently scheduled and that the parties must ensure that the process is expeditious and not be delayed. The court also ordered that the Government has to continue to place all sales proceeds of Telemedia shares into a separate fund with the Central Bank or with commercial banks in Belize. Following the decision, Attorneys for the government spoke of its effect.
Lois Young, Attorney
“The orders of the sixteenth of December have been lifted. The injunction against selling the shares has gone by the wayside. The injunction against the day to day management of the company, it wasn’t an injunction, the order allowing only the day to day management of the company has gone by the wayside and instead we have two new conditions. One is that the government must cooperate with the claimants in having their challenges in the courts below heard as expeditiously as possible and two, that the government’s undertaking to keep the proceeds of sale in a separate account is varied so that the government will keep the proceeds of sales in a separate account except when needed to pay compensation to those shareholders who’s shares were acquired.”
Denys Barrow, Attorney
“Do not feed into what is really an appeal, a request really for fattening, if I may use that expression, fattening the victory that they won when they got the 2009 acquisition struck down. They did not get certain other things which in hindsight they decided they ought to have gotten. So this appeal to the CCJ is only about that but what the appellants have been trying to do is to tag on to that appeal contentions that the 2011 legislation, the reacquisition and the constitutional amendment that these should now be heard along with the small subject matter appeal that is pending before the CCJ. So in essence the direct answer to your question now is the reason the CCJ decided to keep the two things separate. What the appellants really have been seeking to do, and the court was sympathetic to the passion with which they yearned for this because of the interest at stake, they were seeking to get a matter, a case which should be brought in the Supreme Court heard right away in the CCJ and the CCJ in this decision said, “listen we understand why you want it but as a matter of how courts operate, as a matter of judicial policy, as a matter of how judges should conduct the judicial process, let us not have that.” It is important when things reach us that all the arguments which are applicable to this matter should have been gone through already.”Email This Story