Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2017. 9:21 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize will, reportedly have to spend almost US$130 million in legal fees for its continued court battles against the group of companies owned by Michael Ashcroft.
Channel 7 news reported last night that, that the legal fees will amount to about $250 million, which will need to be paid in US dollars. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said that he intends to take the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice (which will incur even more legal costs) because the figure is too high and will considerably diminish the amount of money set aside for social projects in Belize, under the settlement with Ashcroft.
People’s United Party Leader, John Briceño, has expressed his discontent over both the settlement, and the Prime Minister’s intent to fight it, saying, “They know what they signed. To me, it is a sham.”
The figure is significant, because Belize’s foreign reserves are dangerously low, and a payout of that size would put the reserves below the merchandise imports sustainability bench mark, which would compromise Belize’s currency peg to the US dollar; ultimately leading to devaluation.
The legal battle began in 2008, after the Barrow Administration, refused to honor an accommodation agreement that the People’s United Party had signed with Ashcroft in 2007.
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