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Feb 2, 2017

Caribbean Investment Holdings Will Challenge New Anti-Arbitration Laws

Michael Peyrefitte

Mere days after the Central Bank of Belize (International Immunities) Act and the Crown Proceedings (Amendment) Act were rushed through their stages at the National Assembly; they are under challenge from one of the two companies it is believed are targeted by their implementation. Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited (C.I.H.L.), previously known as B.C.B. Holdings, issued a release this afternoon stating that it intends to bring a claim in the Supreme Court challenging both laws as unconstitutional.  C.I.H.L. charges that the legislation’s effect is to clearly attempt to intimidate and restrain them from pursuing its rights in judicial proceedings which it claims the Government has lost.  It adds that similar amendments to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act in 2010 were similarly challenged and substantially overturned by the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2014.  In a dig at the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, it adds that the settlement of the nationalization of B.T.L. came about as a result, after an unnecessary seven-year delay with substantial costs on all sides.  Following the passing of the Acts on Monday at the Senate, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte reviewed the present situation and Government’s options should there be any attempt to attach Belizean assets.


Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“There cannot be any criminal sanctions for challenging the law itself; if one wants to make a constitutional application to say that the laws we ratified here today are unconstitutional, then the court would decide that. If you don’t make that challenge, but you attempt to do what the acts criminalize, then you will have to suffer the penalties that the acts articulate in them.”



“But how would you attempt to do it?”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Attempt to do what?”



“To attach the reserves.”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Who will attempt… well, they will have to decide how they want to do it. Say for example, then, there is a move on the reserves of the Central Bank: a mere attempt to do that, such as the filing of papers; such as a board resolution; such any move by any member of that company or a move by any person who is a Belizean to go after Central Bank assets, then that person commits an offence by the mere attempt to attach the assets. Now the other act is fairly simple: if you go all the way to the C.C.J. and you win a judgment against eh Government of Belize and you attempt to attach Government assets, then that is fine, because you won. But if you’ve lost, and the C.C.J. has said for example that that arbitration or that foreign award is no good because it’s founded on an illegality, and then you still nevertheless try to attach Crown assets after our highest courts have said that your entire agreement was illegal, then that’s just clear mischief, and you want to do something that you are not allowed to do, and the mere attempt to do that is also an offense. British Caribbean Bank [Holdings] is a Belizean company.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Caribbean Investment Holdings Will Challenge New Anti-Arbitration Laws”

  1. Again says:

    So for much longer will we have to give the prime minister our tax dollars – you pay tax evertime you buy gas (a lot of tax), you buy at the store, you buy food clothes, gst….- for him to give to his brother the lawyer to defend this case when he has lost most of the previous cases!!? Shameful! And after some $27 million already paid!?

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