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#419398 - 10/21/11 08:49 AM Government loses $30 Million case
Marty Offline

Remember U.H.S.? That’s the acronym for the former Universal Health Services hospital. But the name U.H.S. will forever be linked to the huge national controversy over whether the government should have guaranteed the U.H.S. debt to the Belize Bank. In 2007 the issue ignited U.D.P.-led demonstrations in Belmopan that erupted in the stoning of the National Assembly and other protests. In the end the P.U.P. Government decided not to get a resolution of the National Assembly before taking over U.H.S. and the debt. The A.C.B., Godwin Hulse, the N.T.U.C.B. and the Medical and Dental Officers’ Union felt so strongly, they took the matter to court. They claimed that it was illegal for the government to assume the over thirty million dollar debt owed by U.H.S. to the Belize Bank without first going to the National Assembly for a resolution under the Finance and Audit Act. They succeeded with their claim before both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. But today the Privy Council in London ruled that the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal got it wrong. The ruling handed down this morning is contained in an eighteen page judgment. The Privy Council ruled that the bank document under which the G.O.B. assumed the U.H.S. liability was a promissory note and not a loan. As such it did not require a resolution from the National Assembly under the Finance and Audit Act.

This is a major victory for the bank. It means that the U.D.P. government must pay the Belize Bank the over thirty million dollars plus interest, which will bring the debt amount close to forty million.

The issue of who will be obliged to pay costs looms large. The Privy Council will hear arguments on that in twenty-eight days. If costs are awarded in favor of the Belize Bank, it means that the A.C.B. led by Lois Young, Glen Ysaguirre, Jeremy Spooner and Kareem “Creamy” Berges, as well as the two Unions and Godwin Hulse, in his personal capacity, will have to pay costs that could amount to a few hundred thousand dollars to the Belize Bank.

Channel 5

#419420 - 10/21/11 10:40 AM Re: Government loses $30 Million case [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
It was new leader of the PUP's Francis Fonseca's signature on the loan to guarentee payment by GOB. Of the ACB's, who were instrumental in organizing a wake up call, Jeremy Spooner was the only one involved who did it out of concern for the country with nothing to gain. The rest were all UDP's who have all benefited from the change of govt. Godwin Hulse is also a good man who spoke up for what was right, without thinking of his bank account either. If Jeremy has to pay, we should all withdraw any monies we have in the Belize Bank. And raise $ for his defence. Bloody Ashcroft. Vampire banking.
Belize based travel specialist

#419423 - 10/21/11 10:57 AM Re: Government loses $30 Million case [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
ACB = ? please.

#419428 - 10/21/11 11:46 AM Re: Government loses $30 Million case [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Association of Concerned Belizeans, which they were, but most had something to gain and did, with UDP in office. Jeremy did not and as it turns out, was the most altruistically concerned.
Belize based travel specialist

#420909 - 11/03/11 09:34 AM Re: Government loses $30 Million case [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

P.M. seeks Int’l Attorney for Universal case

Universal Health Services was the private hospital whose debt was guaranteed by the government to the Belize Bank. In 2007, it caused protests in the capital. The bank was owed thirty million dollars and when it was time to pay up, the hospital did not have the cash, and it became a government debt and a legal battle. The Privy Council ruled in favor of the bank and the mounting interest takes the final tally up to forty million dollars. Prime Minister Barrow knows that the battle to stave off the debt is not over and so he says, he will now go to arbitration.

Dean Barrow

“The Privy Council ruling does open the door to an attempt on the part of the Belize Bank and the Ashcroft Alliance to recover the sums under the loan that the Privy Council has now found to be valid. The bank and the alliance had already commenced arbitration proceedings and those proceedings were halted by the Arbitration Panel abroad to await the ruling of the Privy Council. There is one aspect of the bank’s claim that was rejected by the arbitration panel, but in terms of this particular issue, the panel chose to suspend its processes until the decision came down. Now that the decision has been handed down, I expect that the arbitration panel will reconvened. We had not participated at the start of these proceedings. We have to feel that that panel is not cut from the same cloth as that of the other panels that have presided over some of the alliances of other claims. I believe we will have to rethink our position. And I believe that we will be represented at resume hearings of the arbitration panel since as I said the Privy Council decision clears the way for the bank and the alliance to argue with renewed vigor that the people of Belize need to repay this money; that the past prime minister and the past attorney general—the past leader of the P.U.P. and the current leader of the P.U.P.—got us on the hook for. The Privy Council decision does seem to say that while the loan is not invalid, recovery under the promissory note that Musa signed and Mister Fonseca either witnessed or cosigned—I can’t remember which—may be resisted. So it is not as though game set and match to the bank and the alliance, but it does put us on the back foot—the Privy Council ruling. And as I said since they will be using that as the platform for their renewed arbitration effort, I expect that government will have to seek the services of counsel abroad.”

The matter has been taken to the Privy Council and last week it ruled against the government. It means that the government must pay the Belize Bank close to forty million dollars.

Channel 5

#420987 - 11/03/11 10:44 PM Re: Government loses $30 Million case [Re: Marty]
Cooper Offline
The Universal Health Services Clinic was doomed from the start. Charging only $60bz a month at an 80% pay off with no yearly deductible, my god no plan could work that way. I was a member as everyone I knew joined knowing the way the plan was set up was just insane. A benefit to the members and I want to give all my thanks for the mammography, colonosopies,Xrays, Sonograms,etc. etc, that were offered us, for pennies on the dollar. The U.D.P. and any intelligent government office should have seen the plan was doomed. There should have been no bail out for such a ridiculous program in the first place. I do want to say thanks for the two years we were able to access the program.


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