Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017. 11:18 am CST.
By BBN Staff: The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), this morning, overturned a ruling by Belize’s Court of Appeal, regarding the controversial Universal Health Services (UHS) loan agreement signed under the previous PUP administration. With the CCJ’s ruling, Belize must now pay the Belize Bank the total award – a sum of $88 Million plus interest and cost.
Earlier this year the Belize Court of Appeal upheld a Supreme Court ruling that declared enforcement of the final arbitral award in the case of the Belize Bank vs. the Attorney General contrary to the public policy of Belize. The Court of Appeal ruling declared that paying the award would “offend the legal and constitutional order of Belize”.
In a release following the ruling, GOB said it is “extremely disappointed”.
“With the lower courts being consistent in their rulings, GOB is at a loss to understand this latest decision by the CCJ. To make matters worse, the Belize Bank earlier sold the assets of UHS to Belize Healthcare Partners Limited (another private entity) for approximately BZ$39M yet still claimed the award money from the people of Belize in the same amount. The Government of Belize will never understand how the Caribbean Court of Justice could have upheld this PUP/Ashcroft rip-off of the Belizean people,” GOB said in its release.
The government said it is seeking further legal advice regarding its options now on behalf of the Belizean people.
Last week the U.S. Supreme Court also rejected a request from Belize to review an order to enforce a US $18.5 Million award against the government of Belize stemming from the 2004 agreement signed by former Prime Minister Said Musa, guaranteeing payment of Universal Health Services Company’s debt to the Belize Bank.
Belize was appealing a D.C. Circuit ruling that affirmed a trial court opinion saying the arbitral award could go forward. In a petition for writ of certiorari filed on August 8, Belize argued that the ruling was incorrect because Belize is not party to the New York Convention, an international agreement providing for the reciprocal enforcement of international arbitration awards.
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