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Dec 13, 2012

Appeals Court says B.T.L. can now issue dividends

Denys Barrow

An oral decision was handed down in the Court of Appeal shortly after two this afternoon, which would allow Belize Telemedia to issue dividends to shareholders. The shares would have been issued in October, but an application by Dean Boyce and British Caribbean Bank (BCB) to the Caribbean Court of Justice restrained the government, as the majority shareholder from declaring the dividends. The merit of their case is based on thirty million U.S. dollars that the government owes the bank. So on September twenty-sixth, the CCJ made an order that Telemedia could not consider issuing dividends before December fourteenth, which is this Friday. Attorneys Eamon Courtenay and Godfrey Smith applied for an injunction at the Court of Appeal but it was refused. So where does that leave the matter of the dividends? Attorneys for Boyce and BCB say that in the absence of a written decision from the Court of Appeal, they are unable to assess the prospects of an appeal to the CCJ at this time. According to Denys Barrow, the attorney for the government and Telemedia, shares can be issued by Friday if not this evening.

 

Denys Barrow, Attorney for Government/Telemedia

“The Court of Appeal gave its order just now, refusing the application for the injunction which means that B.T.L. can now go ahead and pay the dividends that it had been proposing to pay back in, I think, October of this year.”

 

Daniel Ortiz, 7 News

“Can you tell us a little bit about your submissions that you made to assist the court in coming to that decision?”

 

Denys Barrow

“As you know, I really do prefer not to argue my case in the media, but just to outline the facts; what we submitted to the court was that the decision to pay dividends is a matter for Telemedia and not for the Government of Belize. It is something which is wholly unnecessary to restrain the payment of dividends because the argument that they were advancing really was not that they are entitled to the dividends, per say. They are saying that if they succeed in getting the acquisition set aside, they will be entitled to damages and the damages will include the loss of dividend which would have been paid out and they are saying that government would not be able to pay back—I think ten million dollars or whatever it is, is the dividends—which I submitted to the court is quite frankly not only disrespectful but can make no sense.”

 

Godfrey Smith

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for BCB and Dean Boyce

“The court gave oral decisions; it has not given written decisions. So obviously we cannot properly assess our next move until we’ve had a chance to see the written ruling of the court. Appealing to the Caribbean Court of Justice is obviously an option, but obviously we have to wait until we have time to review the full decision of the court until we make a decision on that.”

 

Denys Barrow

“They can issue the dividends, I think, starting today because the order of the CCJ was that they should adjourn their general meeting until the fourteen; until tomorrow or after tomorrow. But my recollection of the affairs, the articles of association of B.T.L., of Telemedia, is that they do not even need to hold a general meeting to pay the dividends. But that’s a matter for them.” 

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1 Response for “Appeals Court says B.T.L. can now issue dividends”

  1. Storm says:

    Lawyer Barrow is right that it is disrespectful to say GOB can[t pay $10-million if it loses. But it is probably accurate to say that GOB won’t pay. GOB has pretty much an unbroken record of not paying its just debts under our present glorious PM.

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