CCJ denies Bar Association application to extend nationalization cases


Thursday, October 15, 2015.  Aaron Humes  Reporting: The consolidated appeals of the so-called “Ashcroft Alliance” against the Government of Belize over the two acquisitions of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) and Belize Electricity Limited are finally at an end following an appearance by all parties today in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), via video-conference.

Magali Marin-Young

Senior Counsel Magali Marin-Young

This was not, however, before there was one last attempt by the Bar Association of Belize to intervene on the ground of seeking closure related to issues of public law, specifically the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

The Bar claimed public interest as a reason not to grant the stay to be ordered by the court, despite their late attempt at intervention. But the arguments of Senior Counsels Magali Marin-Young and Derek Courtenay were rejected by CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron and his colleague justices Adrian Saunders and David Hayton.

Deny Barrow

Senior Counsel Denys Barrow

President Byron explained to Marin-Young that their objective can be pursued in other ways and that this is an adjudication of a real dispute between real parties. The Court, he said, is “extremely pleased” that parties came together to get the matter settled and that it saw no need to intervene further at this time.

Thereafter, the court proceeded to grant the settlement orders and terms prescribed with the consent of all parties,
with the addition suggested by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay of more parties not originally attached including Dunkeld International Investments.

After court, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, who represented the Government of Belize in all the appeals, said that the Bar, as he had told them all along, had wasted the court’s time and would continue to if they kept pursuing this aspect of the case, but the door was not completely closed by the court.

Eamon Courtenay

Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay

According to Senior Counsel Courtenay, the court was not available to resolve academic disputes in otherwise settled matters before it.

So is this finally the end of a saga lasting some six years and costing many hundred millions of dollars? Yes, for the most part, according to Barrow and Courtenay, who said that while the case is still technically before the Court, it is giving the Government an opportunity to live by the terms of the settlements, which he says have mostly been complied with. He estimated that approximately 90% of all Ashcroft Alliance-related litigation is now complete.

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