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Nov 5, 2013

Case of S.S.B. versus Sunshine Holdings Limited begin hearing before the CJ

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin this morning began hearing arguments on the case of Social Security Board (S.S.B.) versus Sunshine Holdings Limited, one of the many former shareholders of Belize Telemedia Limited (B.T.L.) – in its case, twenty-two point three-nine percent of all shares in trust for B.T.L. employees. Those shares were acquired by the Barrow administration in its takeover of Telemedia in August of 2009, but Sunshine’s shares were bought with a loan  British Caribbean Bank, S.S.B. and G.O.B. in 2005, four years earlier. The Board won a default judgment in 2011, a few weeks before the Court of Appeal struck down the first nationalization, and today Sunshine was in court seeking to have the judgment set aside. The main argument raised by Lord Peter Goldsmith QC on behalf of Sunshine is also the big news coming out of today’s hearing – the Court of Appeal will be handing down its decision on the second nationalization of Telemedia by the end of this month. This means that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will be hearing the cases associated with both nationalizations in the early part of 2014, signaling at long last an end to years of litigation associated with the telephone company. Goldsmith argued to Chief Justice Benjamin that the Court should stay the judgment until the Court of Appeal and CCJ decisions are handed down, as both acquisitions involved Sunshine Holdings’ stake in the company. Appearing for the respondents in the case are senior counsels Michael Young and Rodwell Williams along with Christopher Rodriguez. The hearing is expected to continue.

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