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Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize

Government says the UN Convention on Arbitral Agreements may just improve public finances

Tomorrow’s Senate meeting will see the 13 legislators review the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards by Belize. It is a document that the Briceno administration is asking the Senators to ratify. The questions, however, are why now? And why the urgency? The media asked Prime Minister Briceno yesterday if this had anything to do with paying what is owed to Lord Michael Ashcroft. Prime Minister Briceno explained that while there are outstanding awards for Ashcroft, the government is exploring some options to improve the economy. The Prime Minister did not go into the details of what they are exploring, but in a press release sent out today, it was explained that aside from fulfilling Belize’s international obligations, the ratification would facilitate the possibility of a debt-for-conservation related transaction which has the potential to materially improve the state of the public finances. According to the release, the ratification by the Senate was already in process prior to November’s general election. It added that even without the ratification, the convention had already been legitimized as was declared by the Caribbean Court of Justice in a 2013 and a 2017 court ruling. The release goes on to note, quote, “the ratification to be considered by the Senate provides for reservations against retroactive application of the terms of the Convention.” End of quote. Our newsroom will have much more on this matter following tomorrow’s Senate meeting in Belmopan./////

Tomorrow’s Senate meeting will see the 13 legislators review the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards by Belize.  It is a document that the Briceno administration is asking the Senators to ratify.  The questions, however, are why now? And why the urgency?  The media asked Prime Minister Briceno yesterday if this had anything to do with paying what is owed to Lord Michael Ashcroft.  Prime Minister Briceno explained that while there are outstanding awards for Ashcroft, the government is exploring some options to improve the economy.  The Prime Minister did not go into the details of what they are exploring, but in a press release sent out today, it was explained that aside from fulfilling Belize’s international obligations, the ratification would facilitate the possibility of a debt-for-conservation related transaction which has the potential to materially improve the state of the public finances.  According to the release, the ratification by the Senate was already in process prior to November’s general election.  It added that even without the ratification, the convention had already been legitimized as was declared by the Caribbean Court of Justice in a 2013 and a 2017 court ruling.  The release goes on to note, quote, “the ratification to be considered by the Senate provides for reservations against retroactive application of the terms of the Convention.”  End of quote.  Our newsroom will have much more on this matter following tomorrow’s Senate meeting in Belmopan.