Prosser loses Privy Council battle over Telemedia

[Linked Image] In London today, the Privy Council handed down a judgment in the case of the Attorney General of Belize, ECOM Limited and Belize Telecommunications Limited versus the Jeffrey Prosser companies of Belize Telecom Limited and Innovative Communication Company... and its bad news for Prosser, but good for G.O.B and Telemedia. For years the Prosser companies have been embroiled in a legal back and forth over the special share and seats on the board of B.T.L. The special share was sold to Prosser as part of his aborted takeover of Belize Telecommunications Ltd. But when Prosser failed to complete his purchase of the company, the Belize Government returned control of B.T.L. to the former majority owner, Michael Ashcroft and the special share and the rights it confers was taken away from the American investor by the Minister of Public Utilities acting under a statutory instrument. Prosser took his fight to court, suing for the return of the shares and continued to contend that he was entitled to name four directors. When the case went to the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice disagreed with him, contending that since he lost his shares he was not entitled to directors. Prosser then took his case to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the CJ’s decision saying the Prosser appointed directors should remain on the board. B.T.L. and ECOM promptly appealed at the highest level and in mid-January the attorneys appeared in front of Lords of the Privy Council to argue their case, for which the judgment was reverted to its original ruling. This afternoon attorney for ECOM, Eamon Courtenay told News Five that it’s an important decision even though the courtroom drama has not ended in other areas.

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney, ECOM Limited

“Fortunately, the Privy Council today agreed with the arguments that were made on behalf of B.T.L. that Mr. Prosser, since he didn’t have any shares, could not keep the directors and so fortunately, that is the position today and Mr. Prosser now doesn’t have any rights to directors on the board of B.T.L.”

Kendra Griffith
“This must be a huge weight off your clients’ shoulders.”

Eamon Courtenay
“It’s an important decision for B.T.L. Mr. Prosser still has another case in the court which is challenging the vesting act, which is the act that brought an end to B.T.L. and created Telemedia. He’s challenging that, now, in the unlikely event that he was to win that case then B.T.L. would come back and if we had lost this case in the Privy Council, it would mean he would control half of the Board of Directors. And that is why it was very important, at least for Belize Telemedia, to fight this case as strongly as we could and fortunately, we succeeded. Of course there is the other element of the government of Belize. That’s a very interesting aspect. Mr. Prosser has sued the government of Belize in Miami. In that case the government was exposed to millions of dollars in damages. The government chose, for some strange reason, not to defend in the Privy Council. The implications are that in this case they are lucky that Telemedia won in the Privy Council because if we had lost in the Privy Council, it means that Mr. Prosser would have gotten millions of dollars of damages against the government of Belize. So fortunately for the government, in this case, they take the benefit as well of the win from our clients. Mr. Prosser now will have to find the money to pay the costs associated with all of this. I am not sure where he is going to find it since he is bankrupt.”

According to Courtenay, the Justice in Miami had put the Prosser case on hold until the Privy Council ruling.

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