PM Barrow Plans to Chase Ashcroft out of Town

[Linked Image] In this business we get a lot of press releases, most of them are about a page or so - some of the passionate ones - usually from trade unions are two or three pages long. But yesterday, the Hayward Charitable trust broke the record - it sent a release that was twenty pages long. Well, actually it was a covering release with the full, tedious text of a notice of arbitration taken out against the government of Belize. It's just one more snare that the Ashcroft alliance has unleashed against the government of Belize.

The arbitration is taken out by another one of those shadow shells - this one called Dunkeld International Investments Limited. The long and short of it is that Dunkeld on behalf of Hayward is invoking the Belize - UK investment treaty because government has unlawfully expropriated its investment in Telemedia. Dunkeld, according to the release is a Turks and Caicos registered company was the beneficial owner of 69% of Telemedia.

And if you're keeping score Telemedia was owned - on the register of companies in Belize by four other companies - who, we presumed, were holding it in trust for Hayward. But apparently not, because Dunkeld - on Hayward's behalf - has entered the picture. Confusing? We've concluded that it's meant to be that way!

Of course, it shouldn't matter that no one here knows who Dunkeld is. What matters is that it is part of the alliance and right now that alliance is intent on serving Prime Minister Dean Barrow a fistful of humble pie for Christmas. Today the PM told us he's not fazed; not excited and not backing down.

Jules Vasquez,

"There are new fronts of litigation open everyday, there is the Belize Investment Treaty, and there is arbitration by this group on Dunkel on behalf of Hayward."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

"That's all under the Belize UK Investment Treaty. That's the last, that's their last stand in so far as the litigation front are concerned. I don't want for people to get discouraged or to get excited where they put out press releases saying they are going to arbitration under the bilateral investment treaty. That is their right, there is a treaty.

It will cost us because we are going to be represented but in terms of the result of those efforts, I am not worried. The investment protection treaty makes clear that people are entitled to remedies. Investors who have their properties taken away, if that property is taken away in consequence of an expropriation as opposed to a nationalization that is done for a public purpose and that provides for the payment of compensation. We made sure that we nationalized in the public interest and we made sure we provided for the payment for compensation.

I don't think they have a prayer but Ashcroft obviously has all the money in the world, he knows that there is a financial cost to us when he starts this litigation process under the treaty, we will simply have to confront it and deal with it. The point I want to make is this: nothing will stop this government from vindicating the move that it made in consequence of that nationalization.

I just ask the people of this country to continue to support the process and to support the government in every action that this government will take to resist and to finally see off this fellow. He must realize I don't care how much money he has, I don't care how powerful he thinks he is, he cannot and will not defeat the sovereign united nation, a sovereign united people. That is my message to him."

The government did not have representation at the London Court of International Arbitration when the accommodation agreement went up for arbitration - but as the PM noted, this time it will; coming out of a sovereign treaty we suspect, it must.

Live and let live