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Jan 28, 2021

Senate Ratifies UN Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

Eamon Courtenay

The Senate today ratified the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.  It is also known as the New York Convention, which has been part of Belize’s law since 1980.  But ratify now? According to the government, the formal ratification aims to facilitate the possibility of a debt-for-conservation-related transaction, which can materially improve the state of the public finances.  The N.G.O. Senator shared today that the government is looking to secure the partnership of an international environmental group to iron out a ‘‘debt for nature swap’’ deal, which can bring about much-needed debt relief for the country.  The debate was heated today, and commencing the discussions was Senator for Government Business, Eamon Courtenay.


Eamon Courtenay, Senator for Government Business

“The New York Convention which we seek permission of the Senate to ratify is and has been the law of Belize since 1980, more than forty years ago. It has been the law of this country. In fact it was the law of this country prior to independence. Madam President it is important to appreciate that all that is left now is the formal act of ratification. This is not something new. It is completing the legal and formal requirements for Belize to become an actually party to the convention. The second point I would like to address Madam President is the question of why and why now. I make clear. I state as a fact without the possibility of contradiction that the matter is brought before the Senate today because the government of Belize is in the process of negotiating the debt instrument which counterparties. One condition of which is the ratification of the New York Convention. Madam President, members of the Senate that negotiation is something that begun with the United Democratic Party administration inherited by the current administration which we perceive that if it is concluded is in the public interest. This is not something that started with the current administration. It is something that something predated out coming to office. Madam President and members of the Senate I would prefer not to go into the details of what is being negotiated. I would prefer not to name the parties involve because the negotiations are at a stage where they have not been concluded and I am hoping that in  the interest of Belize politics does not interfere with the concluding of something that begun with the previous government that we are seeking to conclude now.”

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