Attorneys for GOB and Dunkeld Investments and the BTL Employees Trust were today again before the Caribbean Court of Justice where a decision was handed down over the latest disagreement between both parties on how the final award should be paid. After hearing from both parties Justices Jacob Wit, Rolston Nelson, and Winston Anderson ordered GOB to pay 67 million dollars in US currency to Dunkeld International Investments and the employees Trust forthwith.


Here is a section of the hearing when the ruling was handed down.


Screen_Shot_2016-09-29_at_8.04.24_PMDenise Barrow – Attorney for Government Of Belize


“The courts orders the financial secretary to pay to Dunkeld US$50,798,613.44 in US dollars and to the trust US$16,521,510.54.”


Ending the court hearing, the media got an opportunity to speak with attorneys for both parties who explained the CCJ’s final ruling.


Denise Barrow – Attorney for Government Of Belize


“There were the two views available and they decided that their interpretation of the agreement supported the arguments put forward by my good friend Mr. Courtney and therefore they decided against us, as far as the court was concern it was a matter of interpreting the agreement as it was drafted.  They thought that the agreement was badly drafted that is a view of course which has to be respected, the government fully respects the CCJ’s decision and will obey what the court has decided, the real effect is that the people of Belize have lost out on a number of millions of dollars which the government negotiated with Lord Ashcroft’s companies should have gone for the benefit of the people of Belize, that really is the short of it, the other more immediate consideration is the crunch it puts the country in as regards the availability of foreign exchange.”


Because the semantic of the agreement was not clear about the Belize dollar portion of the Arbitration Award which is to be granted to the people of Belize which would then translate in a considerable lose for the Belizean people, a blunder which Government attorney Denys Barrow says had nothing to do with him.


Denise Barrow – Attorney for Government Of Belize


“I did not draft the agreement.”


Reporter


“But the Attorney from the other side said everybody had input and it was in government interest that you catch anything which would notify or water down the agreement for Belize’s interest?”


Denise Barrow – Attorney for Government Of Belize


“I was not involve in drafting the agreement so those who were involved, the CCJ comments reflect on them that with respect I do not agree with but it doesn’t concern me, I did not participate in drafting this agreement at an early stage I was involved when this agreement reached that particular stage I had ceased to participate in the drafting so your high regard for me can continue undiminished.”


Reporter


“Would you reject the assertion that your client manages to pull a fast one to get more money than was agreed to?”

 

Screen_Shot_2016-09-29_at_8.03.47_PMEamon Courtney


“My clients made very clear exactly what it is it expected to get 50% of the final award there was no qualification to that, that is simple and clear, the government of Belize, the Prime Minister signed that agreement after having an opportunity to review, to revise and to propose changes, that agreement that was signed by the Prime Minister binding the country is what the government committed itself to; you cannot after you signed an agreement, things don’t turn out the way you think you want it to turn out attempt to renegotiate, attempt to redraft the agreement and I think the court confirm that today.”


Financial Secretary Joseph Waight confirmed that Government can meet the payment, but it will cause strain on Belize’s foreign reserve.


Screen_Shot_2016-09-29_at_8.04.14_PMJoseph Waight – Financial Secretary


“Indeed the court has order the payment of 66 million US dollars forthwith as you heard and it will take a huge dent in our reserves, we do have reserves to cover the payment but then what is left it will be difficult, it will be difficult.”

Attorney for Dunkeld and the employee trust, Eamon Courtenay says, his clients will be happy to repay the 133 million Belize dollars to get about the same in U.S. dollars, which is how the original shares were originally purchased.

 

Denise Barrow – Attorney for Government Of Belize


“The Belize dollar portion has to be paid back, the contention of the Ashcroft Group is that government is ought never have paid that sum in Belize dollars therefore they would accept implicitly that they are not entitled to that sum in Belize dollars, they don’t want it in Belize dollars, they will be happy to give it back and they have made that claim from the beginning.”


Reporter


“The portion in Belize currency that was paid to your clients will that be returned?”


Eamon Courtney


“Believe me, I will be the happiest person when that cheque is signed and that monies is out of our clients account, it should never have been paid over it was in Belize dollars and we are ready to pay it back.”

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