The Ashcroft Alliance is once again taking the government of Belize to court, this time to order them to pay 70 million dollars or half of the outstanding Arbitration settlement award, for the nationalization of BTL in US currency. The first payment which was made to the Ashcroft alliance on July 13th, was made with forty million dollars, or 60% in Belize currency and 40% or thirty-eight million dollars was paid in U.S. currency. But the problem arose when the Ashcroft Alliance contended that half of the total award, and not just the 40%, should be paid in US currency.
The application was lodged at the Caribbean Court of Justice and in a case management session this morning via teleconference, the substantive hearing was set for August 19th.
According to Ashcroft’s Attorney, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, the government of Belize agreed to pay 50% of the total award in US dollars and now that the time has come to pay they are claiming not to have the amount needed in US currency so the matter must be taken to the CCJ for final settlement. If the court rules in favor of his client, Courtney says, GOB does not have the US dollars necessary to make the payment and the Central Bank of Belize is unwilling to sell the 70 million US dollars to GOB.
As for the council for the Government of Belize, Senior Counsel Dennys Barrow, he says the crux of the matter is that the Government of Belize agreed that whatever portion of the settlement would go to Ashcroft would be in US dollars.
As for the matter of the Central Bank having the necessary US currency, Barrow said that in a four page letter, the Central Bank told the Financial Secretary that it cannot find 70 million US dollars to sell to GOB. Currently it only has available for the sale of 29 million US dollars.
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