Archive for August, 2009

London court rules a total of BZ$ 82.6 million for Ashcroft against Belize Government

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

A press release was issued by BCB Holdings and its subsidiary, the Belize Bank, on Friday, August 21 to declare that the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) had awarded the companies BZ$44 million or USD 22 million in a dispute with the Government of Belize which originated from agreements with the Musa administration in 2006.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow expressed the intention to resist any attempt to enforce that ruling and claimed that the award is “unenforceable.”

It is worth mentioning that this is the 2nd LCIA ruling against the Government of Belize. In March 2009, the LCIA had awarded a sister company, Belize Telemedia Limited, BZ$38.6 million in damages, after the company alleged that the Government had reneged on accommodation agreements given by Musa administration to BTL in secret.

The court has ruled that all in all the Government of Belize should pay Ashcroft BZ$82.6 million.

Belize farmers want USD 15 million out of USD 25 million EU grant

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Two Belizean cane farmers, Lucilo Tech and Alvin Alfaro, have recently submitted a petition with a list of 30 signatures to Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Rene Montero.

The petition asks the minister to consider using funds that, according to them, the Government of Belize has earmarked for sugar road resurfacing to instead undertake rehabilitation of their cane fields, purchase herbicides and insecticides, and make other preparations for the next season.

The farmers say that USD 15 million out of the USD 25 million granted under the EU Accompanying Measures for Sugar would be adequate for the above-mentioned.

The head of the Committee of Management for the Belize Cane Farmers Association (BCFA), Eric Eck, said that he knows nothing of the petition but, to his knowledge, the funds are not USD 25 million but USD 18 million. He confirmed that USD 7.6 million out of this money was already given to the sugar cane industry for 2007-2008 and another USD 18 million would be disbursed over the next 3 years.

NTUCB and GOB at bitter odds

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

On July 29, Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow “declared the war” between his government and the National Trade Union Congress (NTUCB) as he asked his coalition partners “to bring it on.” The growing tension between government of Belize and the trade unions was conditioned by a law that was introduced by the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the House of Representatives without any notice or consultations on July 24.

The law introduced by UDP would “bind” workers in essential services as it would prevent them from conducting protests like sick-outs, go-slows or work to rule.

So, the trade unions and the Government are at bitter odds over pending amendments to trade union laws and over outright rejection of the Government regarding the NTUCB late acceptance of an invitation to sit on the oversight committee for the USD 20 million Venezuelan grant.

As the Government of Belize is the largest employer in the jurisdction, it finds itself in a conflict of interest situation, so it seems obvious for many people that it is changing the law in order to suit itself.

Belize accedes to Hague Convention on Service of Legal Documents Overseas

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The Government of Belize acceded to the Hague Convention regarding service of legal documents overseas. The resolution on the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents overseas following the instrument of Accession was signed by Hon. Wilfred Elrington, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

Solicitor General Oscar Ramjeet noted that, although the jurisdiction is a Member of the Hague Convention, before documents in civil or commercial matters could be served overseas it was necessary for Belize to accede to the Convention in this regard. For the accedence, the approval of the Senate was required.

Also, Oscar Ramjeet said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will formally deposit the instrument of Accession at the FA Ministry of the Netherlands.