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Jul 16, 2008

G.O.B. has to cough up 9 million for NEWCO settlement

The revenue from the windfall tax is good news for government and, according to Barrow, will assist in meeting the country’s external debt and other government programmes. But one of those unexpected payments is due soon. In 2005, a company named NEWCO sued the Musa administration for thirty-three million dollars for terminating an airport management contract for the P.G.I.A. In June of this year, international arbitrators sided with the company, awarding them two point six million dollars plus interest and court costs. At this morning’s press conference the P.M. related that after concluding the budget presentation on Monday, he returned to his office to find a letter from NEWCO.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“It is making it quite plain that they expect to be paid immediately. Kindly direct appropriate representatives of the G.O.B. to contact NEWCO’s General Counsel Robert Wray as soon as possible regarding the timely payment of the aforementioned amounts. The total amount is just shy of nine million dollars and of course interest continues to run and so for everyday that we do not pay there is that kind of penalty. You will understand that this is very disconcerting. The budget has not made any allocation for this. It is thus the sort of expense that we will have to struggle to deal with. We will be talking to the Belize Airport Concession Company; the group in whose favour the government, to whose advantage the government acted in terminating the contract with NEWCO. We are certainly going to be asking them to see how they can assist the government and people of Belize in paying this award.”

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