Can anyone please tell me if this new legislation is as worrying as it appears?
"Mar 30, 2010Draconian Legislation introduced
The budget debate took up the largest part of the proceedings in the House of Representatives last week so few persons noted that an alarming piece of legislation was sneaked through the House. It is the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act, 2010.
The new law gives to the Supreme Court of Belize the power to issue an injunction against any person, company or even arbitrators who may have commenced arbitration against the Government of Belize.
Once the injunction is issued, if the arbitration goes ahead, those involved, including their lawyers, advisers, corporate directors, shareholders and secretaries can be criminally charged and fined up to half a million dollars or jailed for up to ten years. A further three hundred thousand dollars can be charged for each day a person continues in breach of the injunction.
And get this, it doesn’t matter if the arbitration occurs in Belize or not. Nor does it matter if the injunction was breached in Belize or not. So if a complaint is made against you, you can be tried and found guilty whether or not you are present in Belize for the trial.
What’s this all about? Well GOB has two sizeable arbitration awards against it by the former management of BTL and by NEWCO, the company that initially had the lease of the international airport. This new law empowers the court to declare those awards void.
What’s wrong with this, you may ask? Well, to begin with it gives Belize’s courts extra-territorial criminal jurisdiction, breaches treaty obligations and subverts established principles of international arbitration and private international law.
A few businesspersons contacted by News Five say they are afraid this new law will make the investment climate radioactive in Belize. No serious investor having sight of this legislation would consider investing in Belize as there would be no way of protecting their investment." Link to article - Channel 5 News