Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018. 10:06 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Prime Minister Dean Barrow told the media this week that there still isn’t a fixed date for Parliament to vote on whether or not to pay the $90 million Universal Health Services arbitration settlement to the Belize Bank.
Barrow said that he is “not entirely sure” the motion will be tabled at the next meeting of the House of Representatives, scheduled for February 16, because the Belize Bank has begun court proceedings in an attempt to force government’s hand to pay.
Barrow said that the court case could extend the time of the process and that he is waiting for advice from the government’s lawyers to chart a way forward.
In the meantime, the Government of Belize has filed its own applications in the Supreme Court to address the issues raised by the enforcement order filed for by the Bank.
“In that same application the government is saying in any event how can the bank ask for an enforcement order and an order of mandamus against the Minister of Finance when it is quite clear that our constitutional arrangements as well as the provisions of the finance and audit act proscribe, prevent any kind of payment or a judgement debt that is not already provided for by way of the annual appropriations act; prevent payment except parliament votes the money,” Barrow explained.
GOB is also contesting the amount of interest that should be accumulating while the debt remains unpaid. The original figure is set at 17 percent; however, GOB says that the number should be around 6 percent.
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