Before the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the Government of Belize pay the Belize Bank Limited more than ninety million dollars for Universal Health Services debt, the US Supreme Court had denied its request to review a lower court’s decision. In its petition, the Government of Belize argued that the ruling of the District of Colombia Circuit was incorrect because Belize is not a party to the New York Convention. However, the court still ruled that the debt is enforceable. Yesterday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was asked if the possibility exists that the US Supreme Court could levy penalties if the Government does not pay the debt.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“What the court says is that you have leave to attach any assets of the government of Belize that may be in the US jurisdiction in order to satisfy the judgment so that if Belize has no assets that’s not much of practical effective remedy if Belize ever gets and is holding assets in the states then at that time they will be able to attach those assets. You can’t attach assets here in this country, you can attach crown assets, the Crown Proceedings Act is the only way you can satisfy a judgment and as I said that comes up hard against the constitutional requirement that in order for payment under the Crown Proceedings Act to take place parliament must vote the money.”
The Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that GOB must pay the ninety point six million dollar debt with the approval of parliament. This means that an appropriation bill must be proposed at a Sitting of the House of Representatives for parliamentarians to either vote yes, no or abstain from voting on the matter.