|Latest Ashcroft legal wrangling scares no one|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 10 December 2009 00:00|
Prime Minister Dean Barrow has made it emphatically clear to Michael Ashcroft “He must realize that I don’t care how much money he has. I don’t care how powerful he thinks he is. He cannot and will not defeat a sovereign united nation; a sovereign united people”.
The salvo comes after the British Billionaire is seeking to take the government of Belize to Court under an investment protection treaty signed between Belize and the United Kingdom. Responding to the latest round of legal battles, P.M. Barrow says that the move is “their last stand in so far as the litigation front is concerned.” He explains that people need not get “discouraged or excited when they put out press releases, when they are sayingthey are going to arbitration under the bilateral investment treaty. That is their right.” He clarified however that unlike the Accommodation Agreement that had provisions for arbitration which the government did not take part in because they were illegal, the treaty speaks to specific instances under which companies can take the government to court. He says that “the investment protection treaty is a proper document between sovereign states” and there is nothing that can be done to stop Ashcroft from proceeding in the manner in which he has. And while there may be a cost attached to government defending its position, the Prime Minister says he is not in the least bit worried about the outcome.
His confidence comes since the investment protection treaty gives investors entitlements and remedies when their property is taken away as a consequence of an expropriation. In the case of Belize and BTL government acted to nationalize BTL and it was done so for a public purpose. This process, says the Prime Minister, provides for compensation to be paid to the owners of BTL. P.M. Barrow says that “we made sure that we nationalized in the public interest and we made sure we provided for the payment of compensation; I don’t think they have a prayer, but Ashcroft obviously has all the money in the world and he knows that there is a financial cost to us when he starts this litigation process under the treaty. We will simply have to comfort it and deal with it. The point I want to make is this: Nothing will stop this government from vindicating the move that it made by virtue of that nationalization.”
The Prime Minister concludes in asking the people of Belize to continue to support the process and the government in every action which it takes to resist and get rid of Michael Ashcroft.