By BBN Staff: The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) this morning dropped the hammer on Belize, delivering a ruling in favor of the Ashcroft alliance demanding that GOB pay US US$79 Million by November 10 over the half-a-billion dollar Belize Telemedia Ltd. settlement or face accruing interest in failing to pay.
Financial Secretary Joseph Waight said government was disappointed with the ruling. “It’s alot of money …It’s going to have an impact but we have to digest it and see…We have an idea but it will take some time,” Waight told the media following the ruling.
The CCJ has ordered GOB to pay US$62,849,794.23 to Ashcroft’s Dunkheld International and US$15,314,006.84 to the BTL Employees Trust by November 10. Failure to make the payment by the scheduled date will result in interest of 8.34 accruing annually.
The ruling ended months of litigation in which GOB and the Ashcroft alliance disputed the details of a now controversial agreement made between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Michael Ashcroft during a private meeting in Miami in 2015. Following that meeting, Barrow had explained that the portion of the award attributable to the disputed accommodation agreement would be earmarked for projects to benefit Belizeans.
The dispute arose over disagreement of how the second half of the BTL settlement should be paid. GOB contended that a portion should have been payable in Belize dollars for projects in Belize, since the accommodation agreement actually accounted for about 60% of the total award.
The payment will reportedly cost Belize a quarter of its national foreign reserves.
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