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Oct 25, 2012

A.G. Ministry gets mas tiempo to respond to Dunkeld’s binders of arguments

Denys Barrow

There were two cases in the Court of Appeals today that concern the nationalization of Telemedia. In the morning session, the court heard Dunkeld International Investment Ltd versus the Attorney General. Dunkeld once controlled sixty nine percent shares of the Hayward Charitable Belize Trust in Telemedia. So when Telemedia was nationalized, Dunkeld relied on the 1982 Promotion and Protection of Investments Treaty between Belize and the United Kingdom to start arbitration proceedings against the government.  Dunkeld started two arbitration proceedings and the government of Belize has sought to stop it from proceeding on the basis that the matter should not be dealt with in international courts. And because there is litigation before the local courts dealing with the same subject matter, the government is pressing for it to be heard in Belize. In the Appeals court, the Attorney General’s legal counsel, Denys Barrow, objected to Queens Counsel Nigel Pleming’s submission of three binders containing more than seventy pages of arguments and fifty additional case extracts, less than a week ago. The Appeals Court granted Barrow additional time to prepare a response.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Attorney General

“They are appealing the grant by Mister Justice Awich when he was a Supreme Court Judge of an injunction restraining Dunkeld from continuing with the international arbitration and Justice Awich also refused to allow Dunkeld’s application to be heard at the same time when he heard an application concerning the injunction. Justice Awich found that they were in contempt of court by disobeying an order that he had made earlier and therefore he decided that he would not allow them to be advocating anything before him until they had purge their contempt; which is to undo the thing that they did which went against his order.”

 

Jose Sanchez 

“If I may paraphrase, you objected to binders full of arguments.”

 

Denys Barrow

“In this case, the Dunkeld served written submissions upon me on Monday morning: seventy-seven pages of submissions; fifty cases and extracts of authorities for a hearing which was to be conducted today. The rule requires that skeleton arguments; which should not be long winded submissions, should be served fourteen days before the date set for the sitting of the Court of Appeal to commence. They served three days before the actual hearing. So my protest was that it was unfair, it was unjust, it did not give the government sufficient time to prepare its own case.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“You made it very clear that you could not advocate for your client; that you would have babbling.”

 

Denys Barrow

“I would have been babbling. As the media is aware, as you guys are aware, I have been preparing for so many cases before the Court of Appeal in this sitting that I simply, in the three days given, did not have sufficient time to really decently intelligently and penetratingly read the material that had been given to me. So I would not have been able to do a proper job; even a half-prepared job as an advocate and I objected to being put in that position.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Are you satisfied with what the justices have decided at the end of today’s session?”

 

Denys Barrow

“Oh yes, entirely so. As I indicated to the court, I had made the same proposal to the other side. I had suggested; you have given me insufficient time, you have filed your written submission; give me sufficient time to file my written submission and leave it for the Court to decide the entire appeal on the basis of these written submissions. The counsel who came from England thought that he could persuade the Court to not do that. He thought that he could persuade the Court to have him make an oral presentation and let me not make one since I was not prepared and do only written submission.”

 

The court decided that Dunkeld and the Attorney General’s ministry will both submit written arguments and counter arguments and a schedule that both parties agree to, will be filed with the registrar. The Promotion and Protection of Investments Treaty between Belize and the United Kingdom evoked by Dunkeld, was extended by the government of Belize in 1985 to include the Turks and Caicos, where Dunkeld is based.

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