GoB Hits a Snag in Arbitration Appeal to the US Supreme Court

By
Updated: December 15, 2016

Earlier this month the Government of Belize had petitioned the US Supreme Court to review a ruling handed down in July by the DC Circuit Court that upheld the monetary award to the Belize Telemedia Limited via the London Court of International Arbitration. That revision, however may not come for Belize as it was reported in a New York article dated December 13, 2016 that the US Solicitor General has asked that the Supreme Court refuse to hear an appeal by the Government of Belize with the consideration that the enforcement of the award was done in the US Courts. Belize is questioning the thirty eight million US dollar arbitral award to BTL. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay explained the matter in detail to the media this afternoon.

EAMON COURTENAY

This portion of the award, 38 million dollars,  was assigned to the Belize Social Development Limited; an award that was handed down in arbitration over a contract executed by the country’s former Prime Minister Said Musa with Belize Telemedia, which in part provided the company tax exemptions and relief from import duties. This matter has cost the country millions of dollars and dates back to 2005, when Belize, under the direction of then-Prime Minister Musa, entered into an agreement with the country’s largest telecommunications company, Belize Telemedia Limited. Under the contract, the company agreed to purchase properties Belize wanted to sell in exchange for a guaranteed 15 percent rate of return on any investments and tax and regulatory benefits. In 2008, when Musa’s administration ended, the country’s new prime minister declared the agreement was invalid and Belize stopped honoring its obligations under the contract which has led to this latest development on the legal and international scene