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Nov 13, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Further Review of UHS Case

The Supreme Court of the United States today declined to review an order from the District of Columbia Circuit affirming a trial court opinion in favor of the Belize Bank Limited, concerning an eighteen-point-five million U.S. dollar award against the Government of Belize. In 2004, an agreement signed by former Prime Minister Said Musa guaranteed payment of Universal Health Services’ debt to the Belize Bank. A settlement agreement was established in 2007 but under the new Dean Barrow administration the government refused to pay up and argued that the settlement was invalid. The matter was taken to arbitration where the Bank won in 2013, but the Government, after obtaining a favorable ruling against enforcement here, attempted to get the matter thrown out in the U.S. but lost at every stage. Belize argued that it did not ratify the New York Convention after independence in 1981, although it was a part of the United Kingdom when it did so, and the U.K. did not extend the ratification. Because of that, Belize said it should not be bound by adherence to the treaty. A decision is also pending at the Caribbean Court of Justice concerning enforcement in Belize which was denied by the Supreme Court and upheld by the Court of Appeal.  The U.S. Supreme Court previously denied hearing in three similar arbitration cases in January – Government of Belize versus Newco Limited; Government of Belize versus BCB Holdings Limited and Government of Belize versus Belize Social Development Limited.

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