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GOB Has To Pay Another Multi-Million Dollar Settlement #532525
09/29/18 04:46 AM
09/29/18 04:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,977
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Government has to pay out another multi-million dollar award. This time it's to NEWCO - a company of international consultants that was set up to privatize the Phillip Goldson International Airport during the Musa administration. The settlement is for 6 million US dollars - to be paid in two three million US dollar installments - the first of which is due in 30 days.

The NEWCO deal goes back to 2002, during the Musa years, when they entered an agreement with Government to privatize the Phillip Goldson International Airport.

The Musa government terminated the agreement which led to arbitration - which ultimately led to successive losses for Belize. Eventually the matter ended up at a US Federal Court which found in NEWCO's favour.

And so today, breaking with precedent, Government respected that foreign judgement and agreed to the conditional settlement agreement. That led to a robust debate. The motion was introduced by acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber:..

Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister
"To be settled for 6 million United States dollars in 2 equal installments if 3 million United States dollars each. For the first installment due on the 30th October 2018 and the second installment due on the 30th September 2019. Upon receipt of the 2 installments in full, each of the parties agrees to release the other party from any and all claims, liabilities, obligations, losses, actions of causes of action of any kind of nature whatsoever rising out of the relating of or relating to the concession agreement."

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Why has the government decide to bring this bill now? There was no urgency to pay it off. I remember the Prime Minister was saying in his last debate that they don't have money. So why is it all of a sudden we are finding money to quickly settle this bill? The government even pass laws. You pass a law that would prevent companies like Newco to go after our assets outside of Belize. So again, it begs the question why now. If there something we don't know? Who set up this deal? Someone getting commission by setting up this deal? We don't know. In effect with this settlement the government is giving up $28,484,586.000. So that they could save 4 million dollars Belize. You save 4 million, but you will give 28 million dollars. It's not making sense."

Hon. John Saldivar, Belmopan Representative
"These people came into the country with a bonafide business plan. Sold that land to the government of the day and they signed a contract with these people for the management of the airport. But low and behold less than a year later the People's United Party government turned around and cancelled that contract to give it to the brother of the then Prime Minister of Belize and his friends."

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, PUP Fort George Representative
"The minister made a statement which is a total falsehood, untruth that the PUP government gave this contract to the brother of the then Prime Minister. That is false, untrue, a lie."

Hon. John Saldivar, Belmopan Representative
"Compounding on his lies. This contract was cancelled and given to cronies of the People's United Party and these people sued the government of Belize all of that during the time of the People's United Party administration. It was not until a few months after the UDP became the government that the award was made in favor of this company. The matter of the tax was a strategy on behalf of the government. Our government then, to try to see how we could minimize the amount that the government would have to pay."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South Representative
"The member from Belmopan Madam Speaker stood up proudly explain to the Belizean people that government within the tax structure of our government under the attorney general's ministry decided to go to court and commence proceeding into Newco for unpaid taxes. But he says it wasn't true. It was done just as a negotiation tactic."

Hon. John Saldivar, Belmopan Representative
"Clarification. Never did I say that it wasn't true. I said it was a strategy."

Hon. Julius Espat, PUP Cayo South Representative
"So Madam Speaker are you telling me that this government can utilize that strategy against any Belizean investor or foreign investor when they want to get something out of you? Is that how you use the legal system? Is that how you use the tax structure so that you can intimidate and bully people into doing what you want?"

"This government is paying to Newco in settlement of this claim a total sum of over 40 million dollars. When if it had settled in 2008 when the award was made it would have only have had to pay a little over 3 million dollars."

Hon. Kareem Musa, PUP Caribbean Shores Representative
"I want any one of them on that side of the House to get up and tell this honorable House where in here does it show how much they have spent on legal fees in this case to date. Why are you hiding that from the Belizean people? Everything has a common team. Political mileage, more interest, more legal fees. You are at the end of the road. Are of them are the same common team."

Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister
"We continue to be astounded by the gall, the audacity of the members on that side. Madam Speaker, if you would listen to them and the students in the audience especially, the wider Belizean population, you would believe that they were not the architects of this problem. I listen as the member for Caribbean Shores is saying that he sees a pattern. Yes there is a pattern, because there is a need to clean up the royal mess that they left when they left the office."

So, Government makes the first 3 million US dollar payment at the end of October, and the second at the end of September 2019.

Channel 7

Re: GOB Has To Pay Another Multi-Million Dollar Settlement [Re: Marty] #532598
10/04/18 04:49 AM
10/04/18 04:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 71,977
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

NEWCO $6M USD Settlement Debated In Senate

On Friday the matter of the NEWCO 6 million US dollar settlement went to the house of representatives Today it went to the Senate where the debate was lively, if not energetic:..

Hon. Anthony Mahler- PUP Senator
"Anytime the Belizean people have to pay more than we should pay, I have a problem with that. Like the BTL issue, like the UHS issue, this issue has been litigated all over the place and the only thing that has happened is that the Belizean people end up paying more than we should be paying. I have a serious problem with that Mr. President."

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte- UPD Senator
"He doesn't like when these people pay too much, if it weren't for the PUP we wouldn't be paying at all. At all! This is as a result of a corrupt PUP move that we had to go to court that we had to settle this debt. That is why we are here. We didn't want this, we inherited this from 2003, sir, look at the bill; 2003 this occurred."

Hon. OJ Elrington- UDP Senator
"This settlement has become necessary because, once again, because of a corrupt, vile, putrid, deal during the PUP administration."

Hon. Eamon Courtney- PUP Senator
"There was absolutely nothing that was corrupt about what took place and I want to say to you Mr. President, let us not get in to who are the shareholders of the current company. What did the arbitrators award? The arbitrators awarded $2.6 million. What is the $2.6 million? Ten years later we are here approving the payment of $6 million- $6 million US. Hence, Senator Mahler's question and Senator Mahler's point; why did we not negotiate a settlement in 2008 on the $4 million and try to reduce that? Instead of allowing interest to accrue for ten years and then negotiate a reduction and to pay more than the award stipulated."

Channel 7

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