Business

CCJ appeal for GOB acquisition of BTL and BEL starts

By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter

The final appeal of the case regarding the government’s acquisition of BEL and BTL began Wednesday via teleconference with Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Wednesday’s session was mostly case management and scheduling a timetable for the appeal. The hearings are expected to start in either November or December but a specific date has not been set yet.

According to Godfrey Smith, attorney for Dean Boyce and the BTL Employees Trust, “This is the continuation of the long outstanding nationalization cases against the nationalization of Telemedia and Fortis.”

“This morning was merely to obtain leave from the CCJ and to do a time-tabling exercise to schedule the case for hearing. Essentially, we maintain the position from the beginning, that the acquisition of Telemedia was unconstitutional on a number of grounds,” Smith explained.

In May, the Court of Appeal in a majority decision by Justice of Appeal Samuel Awich and Justice Manuel Sosa upheld the legality of the acquisitions by the government. The attorneys for Boyce and the Employees Trust as well as the attorney for British Caribbean Bank Limited and Fortis Energy indicated they would seek and appeal in the CCJ.

Prior to the government’s victory in that appeal, in 2011 the Court of Appeal had ruled that the government’s acquisition of the companies was unlawful and that GOB improperly took control of BTL.
The government first made the decision to nationalize BTL in August 2009, which, at the time, was under the control of the Ashcroft Alliance.
The battle over BTL has been ongoing since then and seems to be in its final phase now.

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