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Nov 7, 2013

Arguments come to an end for SSB vs. Sunshine Holdings Ltd.

Godfrey Smith

Arguments wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon in the case of Social Security Board vs. Sunshine Holdings Limited, one entity challenging the nationalizations of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL). As we told you, attorneys for Sunshine, who held  twenty-two point thirty nine percent of shares in the telephone company for the benefit of its employees, are seeking to have the court stay or set aside a judgment issued in 2011 for the company to pay over  fifteen million dollars  in a loan to Sunshine in 2005 to buy the shares plus interest, which continues to count up. The attorneys for Sunshine, which was reborn in the aftermath of the nationalizations as the BTL Employees’ Trust, say the law – specifically the rejections of the nationalizations at the courts – stand in the way. One primary argument of Lord Peter Goldsmith QC and Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith who spoke with us is that Sunshine’s new directors, Net Vasquez and Sir Manuel Esquivel, did not have the authority to admit on Sunshine’s behalf the SSB debt because they were not lawfully appointed. After court Smith told us that it does matter who is in charge because if his clients were, they may have chosen to take a different approach to the issue.


Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Sunshine Holdings Limited

“Yes it matters, the law matters. Remember our position is that where we stand today, first there was a court of appeal judgment involving the first nationalization that said everything that was done was unconstitutional. Next there was a judgment of Justice Legal that actually struck down the relevant parts of the act as well as the order under which peoples shares were taken, including Sunshine shares. We are saying that on the basis of that the directors of Sunshine who are Mr. Net Vasquez and Mr. Esquivel were not validly the directors and they couldn’t have taken any action on the part of Sunshine. If Mr. Boyce and Mr. Keith Arnold had remained as directors they wouldn’t have said yes, yes we owe the money enter a judgment on us so definitely it matters.”


Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin will issue a judgment on December 13, by which time the results of the Court of Appeal case will be known


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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