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Belize Bank taking steps to collect on UHS award

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018. 2:30 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Belize Bank won an enforcement order in a U.S. Federal Court against Belize on Monday in relation to the complex United Health Services (UHS) debt guarantee signed by the previous PUP administration and on Wednesday argued the case in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), placing even more pressure on GOB.

The CCJ has previously ruled in favor of Belize Bank, assigning it an award of just over $90 million. The U.S. Court also enforced the original decision ruled on by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), which had tallied the award at $36.9 million plus interest of $16.1 million for a total of $53 million.

With the enforcement won in the U.S. court, the Belize Bank can now attach any foreign owned assets held by Belize, which may satisfy the judgment. It is not yet known what, if any, foreign assets Belize may hold. The Belize Bank also sought to have the order enforced in the CCJ on Wednesday as well, however, attorney for the bank, Eamon Courtenay said his clients are willing to wait and see how parliament will vote on the matter, as per the CCJ’s previous ruling.

During the proceeding, CCJ President Dennis Byron, after listening to arguments from the government’s attorney, Ben Juratowitch, said: “I am just intrigued that this is the kind of legal advice the government would be getting.” The remark came after Juratowitch defended GOB’s position that it can not be made to vote in favor of paying the award though it is legally obliged to do so.

Parliament is expected to meet next week to debate the budget and it is expected that GOB may take a vote on UHS award as well.

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