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Dec 13, 2012

But when will $30 Million U.S. debt to BCB be paid?

Eamon Courtenay

The attorneys for BCB and Boyce hope the dividends would be placed into an escrow account but today’s ruling will probably launch more counter suits. Barrow believes that the eight amendment solidified government’s control of Telemedia and it would come down to a monetary payment rather than a return of the company to the previous owners.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for BCB and Dean Boyce

“The clients have a judgment first of all from Mr. Justice Legall that the acquisition of the property was unconstitutional. Secondly, it means that we are entitled to damages. In the case of British Caribbean Bank, British Caribbean Bank is owed over thirty million U.S. and nobody is paying it. But yet you have Belize Telemedia about to pay millions of dollars in dividends and you also have the government saying on the other hand that it is virtually bankrupt and can’t pay its creditors. And so we were asking the court either to restrain Telemedia from paying the money or if it is paid, to pay it into an escrow account to bide the outcome of the appeal.”

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government and B.T.L.

Denys Barrow

“There is an underlying assumption which Boyce and BCB are making which I find an overreach. They are assuming that if the acquisition is held to be unlawful; that the consequence of such a holding will be that the Court of Appeal or when it gets to the CCJ, the CCJ will order that the shares are returned and that things go back to the way they were before the acquisition was made. I say that that is an overreach because in law it is very, very clear that when somebody takes property wrongfully—which is called a conversion or takes it without lawful authority—one of the things which the Court can do is to say you have taken the property, keep it. You are now being given title by the Court to the property, but pay for it. And as you can imagine, there will be some instances. Let us say, somebody takes your car, drives it for a year and so on. You don’t want the court to order you to take back the car; you would want the value of the car. So this is a power that the court always has in a situation where there has been a taking not authorized by law. So what the court will decide is entirely up in the air. The court may well decide that two years have passed and it does not make any sense to try to turn back the clock, give them the shares and the company and pretend that all that happened with the company in that period did not happen. So it does not make any sense, but all of that is on their best case scenario which is that they will win. As you know, the government feels quite strongly that it will win and that the eighth amendment has in fact solidified and made impregnable the compulsory acquisition of the property. That is the government’s position in this matter.”

 

The attorneys pointed out that next Monday, their application that Justice Awich ought not to have sat on that case because of apparent bias will be heard by the CCJ. If the CCJ agrees with their arguments, it will mean that the decision by the Court of Appeal refusing to prevent the payment of dividends will be null and avoid.

Late this evening, the CCJ gave notice that it will hear the parties on the question of dividends. Attorneys for the British Caribbean Bank and Dean Boyce have late this evening confirmed that on Friday morning at nine o’clock, the Caribbean Court of Justice will be hearing an application on whether to extend the existing injunction previously granted by the CCJ with respect to the payment of dividends by Telemedia. Notwithstanding the ruling early today, it is expected that dividends cannot be paid until after the decision of the CCJ Friday morning.

 

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1 Response for “But when will $30 Million U.S. debt to BCB be paid?”

  1. Storm says:

    “when somebody takes property wrongfully—which is called a conversion or takes it without lawful authority—one of the things which the Court can do is to say you have taken the property, keep it.” Spoken like a thief!

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