Appeals Court refuses to stay decision in B.T.L. case
The Court of Appeal has denied the application by the Government of Belize for a stay of execution of the Supreme Court ruling that restores Jeffrey Prosser’s position on the board of Belize Telecommunications Limited. The ruling was presented this afternoon by Justice Manuel Sosa after fellow Justice Boyd Carey had stated that there was no legal precedent for the granting of such a stay. The original decision, made by Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh on September nineteenth, struck down statutory instruments signed by Minister of Public Utilities Ralph Fonseca that sought to end the turmoil over control of B.T.L. by stripping Prosser of the “special share” that Government had previously turned over to him. G.O.B.’s lawyer, Elson Kaseke, unsuccessfully argued in favour of the stay on the grounds that the original ruling was creating more uncertainty in the management of the nation’s key provider of telecommunications. Kaseke did not say whether he would be appealing to the Privy Council. Representing Prosser was attorney Lionel Welch, while Andrew Marshalleck and Rodwell Williams appeared on behalf of interested parties, Belize Bank and B.T.L. respectively.
As to what today’s ruling means for the future of B.T.L., one would think that the old Prosser led board would just step back in at company headquarters on St. Thomas Street … But when it comes to making predictions in this grudge match all bets are off. The Michael Ashcroft dominated board at B.T.L. managed to dodge an injunction against holding the company’s annual general meeting last month and, with Prosser poised to file a contempt action, it appears that he and the British billionaire are talking, with an eye to Ashcroft buying out Prosser’s minority shares. If so, today’s ruling may give the beleaguered American wheeler-dealer a little bit more leverage in the negotiations.