By Benjamin Flowers
This week the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) rejected an application by the Bar Association of Belize to become an interested party in the settlement of the public utility nationalizations.
The court ruled on Thursday, via video conference, that the Bar had not provided sufficient justification for it to be allowed to be an interested party in the nationalization of Belize Telemedia Limited and Belize Electricity Limited at such a late stage in the litigation.
Attorney for the Government of Belize, Counsel Denys Barrow explained that the court’s ruling brings closure to the litigation, which he has charged with being politically motivated.
“There is very little impact, except that it brings a formal end to this litigation”. Barrow said,
“The real impact was the deal that the Prime Minister made with the former owners of BTL and Fortis, this now – is in formal and legally binding terms.”
The Bar acknowledged that the application was late, but due to the public’s interest it was prudent for the appeal to still be made.
Late Thursday, the Bar Association said that the application was not intended to interfere with the settlement reached between GOB and the former owners of the companies. It sought only to get the court’s opinion on the legality of the Belize Constitution Eighth Amendment Act.
The Bar emphasized that the settlement failed to address whether the changes made to Sections 2 and 69, which bars any party from challenging constitutional amendments made by any government with the requisite parliamentary majority.
The Bar maintains that those changes are unconstitutional, and pointed out that the Court of Appeal had a split decision on the issue. The associations says that it will appeal the decision.