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Mar 9, 2017

P.M. Stands Firm on Action over Arbitration

Lord Michael Ashcroft

PM Barrow is on record stating that as long as he is head of cabinet, government will not pay a single cent towards the US judgment recently handed down in favor of Ashcroft group of companies by the United States Supreme Court.  It’s a position he repeated at Wednesday’s press conference.  In fact, Barrow has gone as far as passing legislation to shield the assets of the Central Bank even though the foreign reserves enjoy immunity.   The PM also admitted that while Central Bank’s reserves are untouchable, there have been similar challenges mounted in other countries.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I cannot, as long as I am here, I cannot agree that Belize will voluntarily pay awards given by arbitration tribunals abroad, converted into judgments by US courts, but which awards have been pronounced against by our local courts as awards rooted in contracts that were corrupt and repugnant to our legal system and void as being against public policy.  I will not voluntarily pay those awards.” 


Dean Barrow


“Thank you.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Mr. Milan I just wanted to make clear that the Government of Belize has no assets abroad against which these judgments can be enforced.  The Central Bank has its reserves and that is why we were going to, we did what we did to try to prevent these people from saying, “Oh, but the Central Bank’s assets are to be equated with assets of the Government of Belize.”  Every law, now I hear Ashcroft getting on his television station, is it a coincidence that you come up next Isani?  Okay, alright.  But I heard him saying sir, that in effect, I don’t want to misquote him, that there seems to be a concession that you can’t get after the reserves of the Central Bank.  And so the question is, why did we go to the extent of passing that law and criminalizing any attempt to do that.  Well, I said from the time we were in the house that all our legal advice abroad is that indeed the reserves are sacrosanct but that there have been other litigants that have tried with other countries.”

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