Ashcroft Gets $77 million Ruling Against GOB But Barrow Won't Pay
Seventy-Seven million Belize Dollars! That’s what the London Court of International Arbitration says the Government of Belize owes Telemedia for damages. That’s a lotta damage! And the London Court says that it’s all because government failed to honor the 2005 Accommodation Agreement. Remember that, one of the documents secretly signed by the Musa Administration?...well this is the one that allows Telemedia to with-hold payments of its taxes until it realizes earnings which amount to what was called a minimum rate of return. That minimum rate was tied into assets Telemedia was made to buy so that the Musa Administration could let Social Security off the hook for guaranteed Intelco debts – which viewers know is a whole other story!
But back to tonight’s story, which is the $77 million government has now been ordered to pay because Prime Minister Dean Barrow says he will not honor Musa’s accommodation agreement. And that’s because as Barrow says in today’s Amandala, the agreement is “immoral” and “shafts” the people of Belize. A less explicit positions statement was put out by government this afternoon which says first that the accommodation agreement is illegal and invalid, and Belizean courts have rejected the position that the Agreement can authorize Telemedia to not pay its taxes. Second, and this is the important part – and we quote – “the government will not be bound by any ruling of a foreign tribunal where that ruling conflicts with a position taken by Belize’s superior courts.”
And third - again, we quote, “any award of damages made by the London Court must be brought to Belize for enforcement by Belize’s Supreme Court before it can have any practical effect.”
It continues: “Government is completely confident that it can successfully resist any attempt at local enforcement.....We will defend the national position on national soil.”
It is of note that Government did not bother to make any defense before the London Court because from the outset its plan was to wage all legal wars in Belize.
But what is the official position of Telemedia? The telecom giant says it hopes to move forward. Executive Chairman Dean Boyce told the company’s television station Channel 5 last night that he expects government will recognize the merits of the agreement - as being in, “the best interests of the country” and expects that there will be a change in government’s outlook going forward.
Not likely, from what we’ve seen. Government’s statement was issued after that interview and says that “arrangements that are immoral, made in secret and that defy our very democracy, will continue to be resisted at all costs.”
With all this said, barring some extraordinary intervention, we expect that hostilities between Lord Ashcroft’s empire and the GOB will now escalate sharply.http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=13614