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Jun 14, 2013

Mayor dragged one more time to court to decided old city debt

The headlines and the country’s immediate future are both mired in court battles. The former managers of the registries and OCEANA Belize are not the only people taking on G.O.B. in legal wrangling.  It’s a productive month for attorneys on both sides of the divide. So it was not surprising to find attorney at law and Mayor for Belize City, Darrell Bradley at the courthouse engaged in a battle with a local company. Debts owed by City Hall, years before Bradley had thoughts of political aspirations, have landed the Mayor once again before the court. The Belize City Council has until July seventeenth to devise an adequate payment plan for a two point three million dollar debt to Belize Waste Control Limited (BWC), following a judgment order earlier in April. On Monday, attorneys for both parties appeared before Justice Michelle Arana and a proposal was offered by the council’s attorney Michael Young which was immediately refused by BWC’s attorney Fred Lumor. News Five spoke to the Mayor about the plans to pay the debt.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

A visibly frustrated attorney for Belize Waste Control Fred Lumor on Monday told the media that while they would not necessarily wish it, if the Mayor and the Council do not make what his clients feel is a tolerable payment proposal very soon the Court might have no choice but to cite the Mayor for contempt of court – which could include seizure of his assets and the assets of the Council, a fine or even jail. But Mayor Bradley is confident that the situation will never get to that point.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We would never make it come to that. We are in ongoing negotiations with our partners including the Central Government to see how we could resolve this situation. Whenever there is a court order against any entity especially a public entity, it is a very serious and important thing. Every person in society—including and especially government bodies—including the office of the mayor and the mayor himself must be subject to the law. And so we recognize, even beyond the contempt proceedings that this is a judgment that has been in existence; it’s been in existence for a long time since 2005. It has to be settled, but the reality is that the City Council just does not have the resources. If I could have settled it, I would have settled it.”

 

There have been some offers made by the Council, including one payment of fifty thousand dollars and a monthly payment of ten thousand but even the Mayor had to agree that with a debt of two point three million and interest accruing at eighty-two thousand dollars monthly that would have been an extremely hard pill to swallow.

 

Darrell Bradley

“We had proposed something in the interim, so that they are not too much more out of pocket meanwhile, at the mean time, while we arrive at a settlement. We are not telling them that this is what we want to pay to retire the debt because the amounts are too small. But we had indicated to them that these are what we can do in maybe a three month period while our people sit down and negotiate with them to see complete overall settlement. And the framework that Mister Young had articulated includes not only the judgment debt but making the service more efficient for the residents of Belize which is our primary concern. So what we had proposed to them…rightly, it is no where no to satisfactory to settling the debt and it was not intended to settling the debt…it was intended to give some kind of comfort in the meantime while we conduct negotiations.”

 

The latest proposal presented by the Council on Friday and aired before the Court on Monday included the write-off of one point three million dollars, and it was rejected outright. Attorney for Belize Waste Control Fred Lumor went so far as to refer to it as patronizing.

 

Darrell Bradley

“We had put forward this proposal that what we would be prepared to do is that we would ask them for a write off of a substantial amount of the judgment debt and then what we would do is that we would beef up our enforcement as it relates to commercial garbage which is something that…we had sat down with them and we had tried to see if they would have been persuaded by that. They had given indications that that was a possibility and that is why the discussions in terms of the negotiation was framed in that way. It wasn’t framed to bring something out of the blue. These proposals are going back and forth. Of course they indicated their position as it relates to that and now we have to go back to the drawing board because this matter must be settled. We recognize that as a government body, we need to meet our legal obligations and we will abide by the law.”

 

And with all that said, the bottom line still remains that the Council simply does not have the money to pay the debt.

 

Darrell Bradley

“We do not have the money. We are very…our projections are very tight as it relates to the repayment of the municipal bond…we are aggressively pursuing our infrastructure and needs for Belize City. So it is not like we have two million dollars sitting around that we could pay. If we could we would have settled it. So what the court will do when we go back to court in July, the court will look at—because rightly Mister Lumor pointed out—there was an order for the immediate payment and in the alternative there was a requirement that the City Council put forward certain information as it regards to the financial, which we have to the court. And we will have to indicate to the court that this is what we could comfortable play to settle the debt. The court will look at all of that. The court won’t say that you will have to pay the money immediately. I think even the other side recognize that that is unlikely to be the case. So the most likely outcome is that we would arrive at some sort of the figure that the City Council can offer on a monthly basis while at the same time meeting our other demands and our other commitments to the general public.”

 

The Council’s attorney Michael Young stated on Monday that he will fight any attempt by the Court to cite Mayor Darrell Bradley for contempt of court or to issue a committal order.

 

The matter has been adjourned to July seventeenth and the Mayor is confident that both parties will be able to reach an agreement.

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2 Responses for “Mayor dragged one more time to court to decided old city debt”

  1. sickntired says:

    If the council got money to pave street then they got money to pay off old debt for garbage collection. How them will take out bond for new street project and no done pay off what they owe? So if they decide to do other projects then they will decide to owe for the streets too? Somebody please advise the mayor to stop doing things he cant afford cause in truth it look like da di garbage people di pay for di streets and the mayor taking all di credit. When he go run inna santi area i guess he will leave all the debt behind. I just hope unu bond holders ready to hold no good pieces of bond paper when that surely happen.

  2. easy glenn says:

    Dont have the money then negotiate for pennys on the dollars years after the bill was due to be payed the prior council already use these tactics I watch this and laugh this is typical business practice the dont pay hold out and then try to pay penny on the dollar because the company need to pay there worker so the accept a portion they pay that then they dont pay then they want to negotiate again for the rest of the funds
    PAY YOUR DAM BILLS then you want the people to pay you on time if you need extra money here is a Idea instead of selling those bogus bonds!!!!!
    Pay A PERSON fi stand in front of each chinese establishment and collect receipts and turn them in just for one month and I bet you will finds tons of un collected taxes and there will be alot of money to pay you bills hire more people” But then but then somebody pan the top nuh wa the eat hmmmmm,,,BeLize is being rape everyday by th non tax paying foriegn stores everyday cash goes to China and are the helping or just living off of the Belizeans ask yourself that the biggest monopoly and People trafficing rink in the country
    think about this Hmmm Just for one month

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