On Wednesday the Caribbean Court of Justice overturned the decision of Belize’s Court of Appeal and ordered Government to pay Belize Bank a little over ninety million dollars, an arbitration award that was granted to the Bank in 2013. The debt was incurred under the Said Musa administration who guaranteed a loan between Belize Bank and Universal Health Services. When the UDP administration came into power, they felt that government should not be obliged to pay the debt for a private institution. The matter was litigated in several different courts in the hopes of not having to pay it. In the end, however, the CCJ ruled that the Government of Belize must pay. It is expected that the matter will be debated in the House of Representatives. Today, Area Representative for Cayo South and PUP Deputy Party Leader, Julius Espat said that government has to pay the debt.
Julius Espat – Area Representative for Cayo South
“If you owe somebody you have to pay them and we have to pay them back because it has been proven in the past that by not paying we are now incurring serious additional cost going up to I’m looking at the numbers close to $700 million dollars that we have to pay because we refuse to pay from the initial stages. You have to understand you make an agreement with a man whoever that man is good or bad and that man formulates in his contract that you signed on he has all the protection of the courts as has been quite obvious to us; he went to London Court of International Arbitration and he won, he went to the Supreme Court of the United States he won, he went to the Privy Council and he won and now he went to the CCJ and he has won. Prime Minister’s responsibility is that he has to take this thing to parliament no matter what because the court has made a decision and under the finance and audit act in 2010 that the Prime Minister did himself it says it’s a criminal act if you don’t follow the rules and regulation. So if he doesn’t go to parliament and he doesn’t get it passed he is doing an unlawful act and the punishment is jail. So are his ministers saying that they want their Prime Minister to go to jail? That is in effect what is happening with their statement.”
This is the second judgment made against the Government of Belize within one month. On November 1, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that government must pay seventy-eight million dollars in relation to the BTL Arbitration matter.