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Government Says M$50 USD Arbitration Award Will Remain Unpaid

Earlier this week we told you of the decision by the US Court of Appeal to reinforce the fifty million US dollar arbitration award to the Belize Social Development Limited and the BCB Holdings.  When we spoke with Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay who represents some of the interests in the Ashcroft Group of Companies, we were told that this is the final leg for appeal and that if the monies are not paid up forthwith then payment will be sought via foreign assets.  Today, the Government of Belize issued a somewhat strong-worded press release stating that they will not be honoring the award.  The 4-paragraph release laid the entire blame for this ordeal in the laps of the Musa administration.  According to the Government’s logic, had the People’s United Party not display nepotism by cancelling a signed contract and re-awarding it to members of the Musa and Courtenay families, Belize would not be in this predicament.  The release went on to express the Government’s outrage at the PUP’s audacity to issue a release on the matter when they are very much to blame in this instance.  More importantly, however, is the decision expressed in the release by the Government to not pay the fifty million US dollar award.  According to the Government’s release, quote, “The Office of the Prime Minister makes clear that while the US courts have upheld the awards, those courts have no authority to overrule the CCJ and certainly the Ashcroft companies can never collect on those awards in Belize. Accordingly, the Government of Belize under the current administration, refuses to subject the Belizean people to this monstrosity of the PUP’s making, and has no intention of paying a penny of these Ashcroft awards.”  To shed some light on the reasons the Government remains bitter at the PUP surrounding this matter it was explained in some detail in today’s release, stating, quote, “The cases upheld arbitration awards against Belize procured by NEWCO, Belize Social Development Limited (BSDL) and BCB Holdings Limited. NEWCO is a company to which the PUP Government gave the contract to manage the Philip Goldson International Airport. The PUP then shafted NEWCO and took away the contract to give it instead to Musas, Courtenays and other friends and families.  Thus, all three awards which the UDP Administration on behalf of the people has tried to resist, are born of PUP cronyism, corruption and betrayal.”  With this decision by the Government of Belize, it is now left to be seen if the award will be sought from the country’s foreign assets.