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Ashcroft and GOB back in court today

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2017. 12:00 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Today Michael Ashcroft’s Belize Bank Ltd., and the government of Belize are back in the Supreme Court as the bank seeks enforcement on its US $50 million arbitration award, upheld by United States courts.

Denys Barrow, attorney for GOB; and Eamon Courtenay, attorney for Ashcroft will try to persuade Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to either lift the injunction barring the bank form enforcing a US $50 million arbitration award or make the injunction permanent.

Both parties are in court today to present final arguments, having given their initial submissions on Monday. On day one, Barrow relied on the judgement handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which pronounced that the award was unenforceable in Belize on a matter of public policy. Barrow said that since the CCJ is Belize’s final appeals court, the Ashcroft companies should not have been allowed to seek enforcement in the United States.

Courtenay, in his submissions, relied on the principles of the New York Convention, a 1958 convention on settling international commercial disputes and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards. Courtenay added that if the Supreme Court of Belize does not enforce the award, the Ashcroft companies will find another country that will.

In January, the United States Supreme Court upheld the arbitration award, which was handed down in favor of Ashcroft’s companies. To counter, GOB passed the Central Bank of Belize Act and the Crown Proceedings Act, and obtained an injunction from Supreme Court Justice Michelle Arana, to bar Ashcroft from enforcing the award in Belize.

Even if the Belizean Court rules in favor of GOB the enforcement remains pending in US courts.



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