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May 31, 2007

Dates set for case against U.H.S. bailout

A new ruling by the Supreme Court means that the financial documents related to the government guaranteed Universal Health Services debt will be placed in the public domain within two weeks. This afternoon Justice Michelle Arana met with the attorneys in the case and all parties have agreed for disclosure of the relevant material by the fifteenth of June. Affidavits in the substantive trial are to be filed by June sixth and any responses to those statements should be in by July eleventh. The lawyers will be making skeleton arguments nine days later, on July twentieth, in preparation for the new trial date of July twenty-seventh. Lois Young and Dean Barrow are representing the claimants: the Association of Concerned Belizeans, the National Trade Union Congress, the Belize Medical and Dental Union, and Godwin Hulse. Andrew Marshalleck will appear on behalf of the Belize Bank, Solicitor General Edwin Flowers will defend the Prime Minister and Attorney General’s interests, and Derek Courtenay will speak for Universal Health Services. The A.C.B. et al are asking the court to declare the Government guarantee, settlement deed, loan note, and an additional loan facility unlawful under the Finance and Audit Reform Act. The Prime Minister has maintained that he had the authority to commit taxpayers’ money to support the private medical facility, but the news of his decision has sparked two mass protests in Belmopan and major public outcry.

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