GOB court battle continues BISL wants $60 M in damages

By Alexis Milan
Staff Reporter

The government of Belize on Wednesday filed an application in the Supreme Court for the BISL suit against it to be struck out.

Belize International Services Limited, the company that used to operate the Merchant Marine Registry and the International Business Registry is suing the government for $60 million.

The attorney representing the Belize Government, Denys Barrow,argues that BISL’s claim for a violation of its constitutional rights is incorrect and therefore the case should be struck out. Barrow said BISL should have instead filed a claim for breech of contract.

BISL attorney Eamon Courtenay said that BISL’s claim is for damages because the government did in fact violate BISL’s constitutional rights by forcefully taking over the International Business Companies Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry (IMMARBE).

According to Courtenay, BISL’s claim for US $60 million is based on expert projections of what the company would have earned up to 2020, when the contract would have expired.

Justice Michelle Arana, who is hearing the case, has reserved her judgment of the application for a later date.

Earlier this month BISL won the first round in court when Justice Shona Griffith ruled that BISL because of its International Business Company status, was exempt from paying taxes to the government. The government’s Sales Tax Department estimated that BISL owed some $30 million in taxes from 1993 to 2013.

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